Muhammad Noor Firdaus makes Olympic debut

Fadhil Yunus

Brunei Darussalam runner Muhammad Noor Firdaus Ar-Rasyid bin Haji Mohd Idris represented his country in the 200 metre event of the 32nd Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan yesterday.

The national athlete, who competed in the Olympics for the first time, recorded a season best with a time of 21.83s running in the eight lane of heat five.

The 24-year-old has now expanded his list of appearances in major international competitions since establishing himself as a national athlete.

Muhammad Noor Firdaus, who holds a national record for 200-metre with a time of 21.39s, has now competed in the Olympic Games, World Athletics Championships, Asian Athletics Championships, Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games.

Brunei’s other representative in the Tokyo Olympics was national swimmer Muhammad Isa bin Haji Ahmad, who competed in the men’s 100-metre breaststroke event.

Brunei runner Muhammad Noor Firdaus Ar-Rasyid bin Haji Mohd Idris participates in the 32nd Olympic Games in Japan yesterday
Muhammad Noor Firdaus Ar-Rasyid bin Haji Mohd Idris during the 200-metre event of the 32nd Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. PHOTO: AGENCY

The 200-metre event, like the 100-metre event, will crown a new champion and successor to running icon Usain Bolt, who has retired from the sport.

Canada’s hope Andre de Grasse will be among the contenders in the final after finishing as the fastest qualifier with a time of 19.73s, which also marked a new national record as well as USA’s Kenneth Bednarek.

He will be joined in the final by United States’ (US) Kenneth Bednarek who crossed the line with a time of 19.83s. Andre De Grasse’s compatriot Aaron Brown also advanced to the final round after clocking a season best time of 19.99s with Liberia’s Joseph Fahnbulleh posting an identical time en route to a national record.

Both athletes raced in the same heat as Muhammad Noor Firdaus and finished in the same order as the semi-final with a time of 20.38s and 20.46s. US track star Noah Lyles also posted a similar time in a sensational race but was made to wait for a place in the final.

The top two runners in each round are guaranteed a place in the final followed by the next two fastest qualifiers.

US rising teenage star Erriyon Knighton cruised to the final after topping his semi-final round with a time of 20.02s ahead of Jamaica’s Rasheed Dwyer whose time of 20.13s is a season best.