MAF seeks talks with US varsity to release Azeem for Sea Games

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Athletics Federation (MAF) are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to get gold medal prospect Azeem Fahmi to compete at the Phnom Penh Sea Games.

MAF coaching and selection committee chairman Datuk Mark Ling will fly to the United States, where the 19-year-old sprinter is based, next month to hold talks with Auburn University and hopefully get them to release Azeem for the Sea Games.

As a scholarship recipient of the university, Azeem has contractual obligations to his track and field team, which competes in the top-tier National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division 1 competition.

Mark said that he made the decision to fly there on his own as efforts to communicate with the university via phone have been ineffective.

“The universities in the US compete in a series of competitions. The only way for us to try and get Azeem is by asking them (university) if they can allow him to go (Sea Games) for maybe a week, or at least a few days, as long as it is not within their competition period,” said Mark after attending a selection committee meeting with the Olympic Council of Malaysia today.

“If it (Sea Games) is within their competition period, then the university takes precedence.

“Everybody is calling the university. The best thing to do is to fly there and talk to them.

“Talking on the phone just doesn’t make sense. I’m arranging a trip in March. We will see.”

Azeem, who holds the national 100m record (10.09s), moved to Auburn early last month and has shown remarkable improvements there.

He has broken the national indoor 60m record twice since joining them.

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