Abdul Latif Romly — pride of family, Perlis and Malaysia

Romly and Salmah show Latif’s photograph during his school days in Kangar yesterday. — Picture by R. Mahgeshan
Romly and Salmah show Latif’s photograph during his school days in Kangar yesterday. — Picture by R. Mahgeshan

KANGAR, Sept 13 — The flying super human who bagged the gold medal at the Rio Paralympics was inspired by his family members, especially his siblings.

Abdul Latif Romly, 19, got involved in sports at the age of six, when he would follow his sister, Siti Aminah Romly, now 29, to her school at SMK Syed Alwi.

“Every evening, he would come to the school field and jog with me and he would also try to jump as how I would train for the high jump,” Siti said.

“He was an active boy even back then and look where he is today, holding the world record at 7.60m. I envy him but at the same time, I am proud of my little brother.”

Latif used to play football with his brother, Mohd Hafidz, 27. He now plays for DRB Hicom FC as a goalkeeper in the M-League.

“He loves to match my goalkeeping ability. He will be the goalkeeper for the opposing team and he plays well. Once, he returned with bruises and my mother told him not to play football anymore,” Hafidz said.

Their mother, Salmah Yatim, 58, said she had always encouraged her son to be active in sports.

“I wished he could do well in his studies as well, but I understand he had been struggling in school,” she said.

“He is an obedient boy. When I told him no more football, he listened and stopped playing. But I never stopped him from taking up other sports. I used to attend the annual sports day in school and supported him in the competitions he participated in.”

Salmah said Latif would join every competition on sports day and he was not only focused on the long jump.

“He is an all-rounder. He played all and won medals," she said.

“To be honest, I have lost count the number of medals he, Aminah and Hafidz would bring home every time there is a competition. That is why I decided to put it up so that all our guests could see it.”

Salmah and her rubber tapper husband, Romly Mat, 63, watched their son win gold via Internet streaming at the Arau Parliament Service Centre.

“He wanted gold and he wanted to break the world record. He won the gold by beating the record three times!

“What more could I ask? It is a very proud moment for the family, Perlis and Malaysia,” she said.