KUANTAN: National men’s 400-metre (m) record holder Umar Osman lived up to expectations when he emerged champion in the event with a season-best 46.27 seconds (s) in the Malaysian Open Athletics Championships at the Darul Makmur Stadium here today.

Umar said it wasn’t an easy win as he had to work hard to regain his rhythm after being out of action for seven months due to injury.

“In the semi-finals, I got back my rhythm by clocking 46.83s. And in the final, I did 46.27s, so I am satisfied to have exceeded my own target.

“My next target is to compete in the ASEAN University Games (AUG) in Surabaya, Indonesia. I will try my best but I will need to see my physical condition then,” he told reporters.

In the men’s 400m final, Sabah’s Muhammad Khalil Helmi (47.6s) and Armed Forces’ Luqmanul Hakim Khairul Akma (47.92s) came in second and third respectively.

The 20-year-old Johor-born Umar said the Malaysian Open result has boosted his confidence to pursue further studies at Auburn University in the United States.

“The Malaysian Open is my third meet this year and I wanted to clock my best time here so that Auburn University will have more faith in my abilities,” he said.

Umar plans to sit for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination in July, after the AUG in Surabaya, to further his studies at Auburn University.

For the record, Umar set the national 400m record of 46.09s at the World University Games (Universiade) in Chengdu, China last August.