KUANTAN, 10 September – Terengganu paddler Daing Sulaiman Daing Suhaimi created a surprise when he won Stage 4 of the Pahang Ocean Paddle International Challenge 2022 (POPIC 2022) at Pantai Cherating here on Saturday.
In the men’s TK1 national category race, Daing Sulaiman recorded a time of 2 hours 11 minutes 09.49 seconds to leave his nearest challenger from Pahang, Mohd Adib Kamaruzrizan (2:14:02.75s) and Freddy Anggang (2:14:25.05s).
The success of winning the 20 kilometer race saw Daing Sulaiman emerge as the new leader of the men’s TK1 category when he overtook Adib with a total time difference of 45s.
“Thank God for the victory in Stage 4 today. In the previous three stages, I tried my best to compete with Adib for first place but he was faster to ahead.
“Today, I had the chance to get ahead of Adib when he made a little mistake at Bouy 1. That situation allowed me to stay ahead of Adib and the rest of the challengers including Freddy to be at the front.
“For the last race tomorrow, I will try with the same strategy. Most importantly, I have to sprint earlier to distance myself from the other paddlers and maintain the tempo in the middle until the end of the race,” he said.
Adib who won three stages before – at Pantai Hiburan, Rompin; Pantai Lagenda, Pekan and Pantai Balok, Kuantan admitted that he made a mistake at the beginning of the race which opened up the opportunity for Daing Sulaiman to win Stage 4.
“Yes, I made a little mistake because I didn’t really see Bouy 1 and as a result, Daing Sulaiman was in front. Then, I tried to chase Daing Sulaiman but he was faster to stay in front.
“Congratulations to Daing Sulaiman for his success today. God willing, I will try my best to compete with Daing in the last stage at Pantai Teluk Cempedak tomorrow,” he said.
Meanwhile, the experienced pair representing Pahang, Ahmad Azfaruddin Lukman-Imam Sujadi Satta again set foot on the main podium when they topped the men’s TK2 category with a time of 2:02:18.81s.
The second podium belongs to Pahang’s representative, David Bong Xia Shing-Aderian Adek who recorded a time of 2:04:42.18s while the Terengganu paddler, Muhammad Adhwa-Danish Lukman was in third place with a record of 2:06:13.52s.
“We took note of what happened yesterday after being penalized. So in today’s race, we only followed the route based on the buoys’ provided by the organizers to avoid repeating the same mistakes,” he explained.
For the women’s TK2 category, the representatives of Terengganu, Norazita-Nursaibah Syahida Ibrahim emerged as champions with a record of 2:15:59.75s followed by Dayang Nur Sakinah-Dayang Nur Hanisah Awang Ali (2:23:47.74s) and Siti Normah Abdul Rahman-Mustika Ayuni Mustofa (2:27:57.29s).
For the men’s inter-varsity category, the defending champion status belongs to Tuan Muhamad Hidzam Tuan Dolah-Mohd Azman Ibrahim (UNISZA); runner-up Muhammad Farhan Haqimi Abdul Latiff-Mohamad Faiz Rosdin (UTHM) and third place winner Mohamad Izzat-Muhammad Hafizi (UNISZA).
For the women’s inter-varsity category, representatives of UTHM, Nur Aleya Nafisha Norhanafi-Alya Athirah Shaharaziz emerged as champions followed by Ain Syuhadah Zulkifli-Nur Amira Syafiqah Rosli (UTHM) and Yusriyah Athirah Yusof-Nor Natasha Mohd Yusuf (Outdoor Edit UPSI).
The POPIC 2022 highlight for the international category saw former world champions Dawid Mocke from South Africa and Danielle McKenzie (New Zealand) defend their position as leaders when they won the men’s and women’s competitions respectively.
POPIC 2022 – the first-ever international canoe championship held in Pahang will conclude on Stage 5 at Pantai Teluk Cempedak on Sunday and crown the overall champion in all seven categories for this edition.