Lee Hup Wei
AS the wait continues for the arrival of his Cuban coach, Lee Hup Wei is not sitting idle with two international competitions in Finland lined up for the high jumper next month.
Hup Wei, 21, will prime himself for his debut Olympic appearance in Beijing against an international cast at two Finnish meets on July 16 and 20.
The Selangor-born athlete will also compete in the Malaysian Pre-Olympic Athletic Championships in Bukit Jalil on July 4-5 but the Finland competitions will be his last before the start of the Olympic Games on Aug 8.
Hup Wei, who qualified for the Beijing Olympics by setting a new national record of 2.27m at the China Open last month, has shown steady progress over the last 18 months with the intention of reaching his peak in Beijing.
Much credit for his improvement goes to his Cuban coach Antonio Yznaga Ibar who, however, had to return home for health reasons in April.
Even the delayed arrival of a replacement coach from the same country has not stunted Hup Wei’s progress as he continues his development under the care of former Sea Games gold medallist Lau Cwee Peng, at least until the Olympics.
Hup Wei will skip the three-leg Asian Grand Prix series next week after having gone through a strenuous five weeks which took in three high-profile competitions.
The China Open, where he shattered the previous national record of 2.24m he held jointly with Loo Kum Zee, followed his season debut at the Thailand Open when he only managed to clear 2.05m, causing concern that he would not qualify for the Olympics in the absence of Yznaga Ibar.
But with the pressure finally off after the China Open, Hup Wei set a new Games record of 2.20m before opting to pass at a further attempt having already secured the gold medal at the recent Malaysia Games.
New Straits Times