Two major hurdles – SPM and World Athletics Under-20 Championships – Await Hazriq

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2: Teenager Muhammad Hazriq Cik Mat Kilau faces two crucial hurdles this year – the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination starting at the end of this month and qualifying for the World Athletics Under-20 Championships, which will be held in Lima, Peru in August.

The 110-metre (m) hurdler from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Tun Hussein Onn, Kluang will first focus on the 2023 SPM examination, which will begin on Jan 30, to ensure he can get excellent academic results for a better future.

That aside, the 17-year-old, who hails from Kota Tinggi, Johor, will also need to clock below 14.20 seconds (s) in the 110m hurdles at the Asian Under-20 Athletics Championships in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on April 24-27 to book a ticket to the World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Lima on Aug 26-31.

His father, Cik Mat Kilau Che Musa, is confident that the SPM examination won’t disrupt Muhammad Hazriq’s preparations for the biggest test in his budding athletics career.

“Hazriq is very disciplined, highly determined and extremely good at time management. So, he can juggle his time between his studies and training. Based on his performance, so far, I am confident Hazriq can qualify to compete in Lima, Peru,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

He said that if Muhammad Hazriq achieves outstanding results in his school examination and athletics, he will be sent to Auburn University in the United States to join national sprinter Muhammad Azeem Fahmi.

“My son’s long-term goal is to compete in the Olympics. He will never be satisfied until he achieves that,” he said. 

Muhammad Hazriq’s best time of 13.67s, set at the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago last October and recognised by World Athletics, must gear himself up to face stiffer challenges as he transitions from the teen category.

The youngster created a sensation when he clinched gold medals in the 110m hurdles and men’s 4x100m relay with Dylan Leo Saran Stephen, Danish Irfan Tamrin and Danish Iftikhar Muhammad Roslee at the Southeast Asian Youth Athletics Championship in Bangkok, Thailand last month.