Azeem Will Accept It If Not Given Wildcard To Paris Olympics

25/06/2024 03:26 PM

SEPANG, June 25 (Bernama) -- National sprint champion Muhammad Azeem Mohd Fahmi is resigned to the possibility of not being given a wildcard to compete in the 100 metres (m) event at the Paris 2024 Olympics next month.

The Perak-born athlete said he is still young and has a chance to fulfil his dream of competing in the 2028 edition in Los Angeles.

"If I am not selected for the Paris Olympics using a wildcard, I will not be slighted or disappointed because, for me, the parties concerned will be making the best choice.

"I will accept any decision with an open heart. If I don't have the chance to compete in the Paris Olympics this year, my goal will certainly be LA2028.

"By that time, I will be 24 years old. God willing, if I am given a long life and the opportunity to run, that will be the right moment for me to peak," he said when met at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here today.

Azeem missed out on a ticket to qualify on merit either through the qualifying standard or ranking when he failed to win the men's 100m at the Kazakhstan Open in Almaty on Saturday.

He finished third with a time of 10.37 seconds (s), behind winner Puripol Boonson of Thailand (10.23s) and silver medallist Kayhan Ozer of Turkiye (10.25s).

Azeem said if he fails to get a wildcard to compete in the prestigious event, his focus will be on the Malaysia Games (SUKMA) 2024, which will be held in Sarawak in August.

According to the national 100m record holder, he does not mind if he is labelled a ‘local hero’ as he intends to repay the contributions of his home state, which has greatly supported his career development.

"If you ask me, I want to help Perak because the Perak State Sports Council (MSN) has helped me a lot since I was young. Even when I was 14 years old, the state MSN helped me a lot and provided me with training equipment and accommodation, like at the previous SUKMA in Kuala Lumpur and Perak.

"This is the story of a Teluk Intan boy with a big dream. If there is a chance to represent Perak at SUKMA, I will do my best. The main mission is to hunt for two gold medals in the 100m and 200m events," said Azeem, who will be competing in the 2024 ASEAN University Games (AUG) in Malang and Surabaya.