KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 25 — National high jumper Lee Hup Wei is considering to establish a high jump academy after announcing his intention to retire from athletics next year.
The 34-year-old athlete from Kajang, who said that he intended to enter the coaching field upon retirement, has also completed the first level of the coaching course in preparation for his retirement.
“I don’t know (where I’ll serve), maybe I’ll start my own academy,” the four-time Olympian told Bernama, adding that his retirement was due to the age factor.
He also expressed his hope that more championships would be held to ensure that he would be in top form during three major championships next year – the Hanoi South East Asian (SEA) Games from May 12 to 23, the Birmingham Commonwealth Games (July 28 to Aug 8) and the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China (Sept 10 to 25).
He said currently championships were important for his preparations for the Asian Games, where Olympic gold medalist Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar (with a jump of 2.37 metres (m)) is expected to provide stiff competition.
“We should actually be preparing now. But I hope there will be at least 10 championships before the Asian Games, and not just one or two. For now, there are not confirmed tournaments.
“We want to go for indoor (tournaments overseas), but I have my fingers crossed because (there are) a lot of budget cuts, so we don’t know the plan for next year. I hope we will have a lot tournaments, even locally, I hope they (Malaysian Athletics Federation) can make a move before the SEA Games,” he said.
During last Sunday’s 2021 National Athletics Championships, a cautious Hup Wei could only manage a jump of 2.10 m to win the bronze, while two Sabah athletes – Mohamad Eizlan Dahalan and Farell Glenn Felix Jurus – managed jumps of 2.14 m to win the gold and silver medals.
At the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, Hup Wei finished 10th with a jump of 2.20 m, behind compatriot Nauraj Singh Randhawa who placed seventh (2.24m), while the gold went to Wang Yu from China with a jump of 2.30 m.
Four-time SEA Games gold medalist Hup Wei, whose personal best jump is 2.29 m, had his worst showing during the Tokyo Olympics when he failed to clear 2.17 m in the qualifying rounds. _ Bernama