Yesterday was a day of many firsts for our parathletes that were competing at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
Prior to this weekend, Malaysia neither had a rich history in Paralympics nor a single Paralympic gold. But 3 Malaysians changed all of that by winning 3 gold medals and breaking world records.
Malaysian sprinter Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi, who took part in the 100m T36 (celebral palsy) event, won the nation’s 1st ever gold medal. His time of 12.07 broke the Paralympic record of 12.25 held by Ukraine’s Roman Pavlyk since the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing.
Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi became the first from Malaysia to stand atop the podium.
According to National Paralympics head coach for athletics, R. Jeganathan, Ridzuan, who had difficulty expressing his feelings in words after the prize presentation had to be calmed down and comforted by the head coach since he was continuously crying, though it was tears of joy.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli successfully cinched Malaysia’s 2nd gold medal when he won the men’s F20 (intellectual disability) shot put event during the final with a new world record effort. The 26-year-old hurled a distance of 16.84m to smash the world record of 16.59 held by Australia’s Todd Hodgetts since 2007.
Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli was also seen crying tears of joy on the podium as “Negaraku” played for the 2nd time at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
Buat kali ke-2, Negaraku di #Rio2016!
— Tune Talk (@TuneTalk) September 10, 2016
Last but not least, the 3rd gold in the bag was secured by Abdul Latif Romly, who aced the long jump T20 (learning problem/intellectual disability) category and set a new world record with the 7.60 meter (m) jump in his 5th attempt. In fact, the 19-year-old parathlete from Perlis broke the world record not once, not twice, but 3 times in his attempts with records 7.47m in his 2nd jump and 7.54m in his 3rd jump.
Abdul Latif Romly was all smiles at the Olympic Stadium in Rio while the virtual world was continuously spammed with congratulatory messages for the parathletes via #TerbangLatifTerbang hashtag.
In just the space of a few hours, 3 extraordinary Malaysian parathletes created history and put Malaysia on the map. Thank you, Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli, and Abdul Latif Romly, for showing the world that impossible is truly nothing.
A total of 21 Malaysian athletes are competing in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games from 7th – 18th September. They are taking part in 8 of 23 types of sports in contest – with athletics, powerlifting and cycling seen as medal prospects.