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January 9, 2005

Deaflympics: Zana bags bronze

From: Malay Mail, Malaysia - Jan 9, 2005

By Tony Mariadass in Melbourne

MALAYSIA won their first medal at the 20th Deaflympics at the Olympics Park Stadium in Melbourne.

But it was only a bronze by hurdler Zana Azizul Ujang.

Zana, who was defending the 110m hurdle gold the won in 2001 at Rome, was disappointed he failed to retain his title which saw Poland's Konstanty Bakowski win in a time of 15.86s.

Zana, who clocked 16.45s with a tail-wind of 2.6m, was disturbed by three false starts.

In the end, Zana from Tampin, Negri Sembilan, who had a good start, lost his rythym from the fifth hurdle onwards, knocking down three hurdles consecutively, before making it to finish line.

Malaysia's other hurdler, Wan Mohd Hirwan Wan Hassan, whose pet event is the 400m hurdles, finished fourth in 17.89s.

Ukraine's Yaroslav Prokopenko, who beat the gun in the first attempt, was second in 16.17s.

In the second attempt, all the hurdlers were faulted and Cuban Alexeis Perez was disqualified when he beat the gun for the second time in the third attempt.

"By the time the race began, I was already nervous after all of us were warned," said Zana through a sign interpreter after the race.

"Although I had a good start, I was over-cautious and lost my stride approaching the fifth hurdle which I knocked down.

"In fact, I am lucky to remain in the race till the end as I had lost my rhythm and stride.

"I am disappointed because I believed I could have defended my title today (yesterday).

"I could have beaten Bakowski if not for the fumble."

A delighted pony-tailed Bakow- ski, immediately started playing a guitar to the delight of the crowd. He played guitar for a heavy metal band back home.

The win was a sweet one for the Pole as he finished fifth in the last Games in Rome. He completed a lap of honour draped in the Polish flag.

Zana will be competing in the 400m hurdles on Tuesday together with Hirwan.

Both Zana and Hirwan qualified for the 400m hurdles final yesterday, after the heats were scratched off yesterday morning, just as in the 110m hurdles on Friday, when several athletes pulled out leaving only eight hurdlers.

As much as Zana would like to make ammends, the odds are against him as he specialises in the shorter race.

RESULTS: 110m hurdles: 1 Konstanty Bakowski (Pol) 15.86; 2 Yaroslav Prokopenko (Ukr) 16.17; 3 Zana Azizul Ujang (Mas) 16.45; 4 Wan Mohd Hirwan Wan Hassan (Mas) 17.89; 5 Subir Kumar Nayak (India) 19.83; 6 Nikolay Shaporev (Rus) 21.73

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