KUALA LUMPUR: After failing to end the 16-year medal drought at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia early this month, the national athletics squad must now work hard to end the 12-year medal drought at the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games in August.
Malaysia last tasted podium success at the regional Games in 2006 Doha edition, when women's pole vaulter, Roslinda Samsu bagged a silver, while hurdler Noraseela Mohd Khalid claimed bronze in the women's 400m hurdles.
Ever since then, none of the national athletes rose to the occasion at the multi-sports event.
However, former national hurdler, Noraseela is confident that, the Malaysian athletics squad are able to end the medal drought, in the field events.
"Discus thrower Muhammad Irfan Shamsuddin had already won a silver medal at the Asian Athletics Championships in India, last year. I think high jumpers Nauraj Singh Randhawa and Lee Hup Wei will do their best this time (after failing to win a medal at Commonwealth Games.)
"We can also expect a decent outing from Jackie Wong Siew Cheer, who have cracked the national record for few times last year. I am also looking forward to see our women's athletes progress as the top contenders," the four-time SEA Games champion told Bernama.
Noraseela who still holds the 400m hurdles national record of 56.02s set in 2006 at Germany, said good preparation is most crucial for the athletes to achieve good results at the major tournaments.
"They need to prepare physically and mentally as well as take part in as many competitions as possible. Asian Games is one of the biggest platforms they should utilise and do their best.
"Because if you did not compete among the best, it is going to be hard to progress further. So this a great chance for them to do so," said Noraseela, who is now coaching children and juniors athletes in her Grigory Asia, an academy for athletics.