Five paralympians have potential to shine in Tokyo, says deputy minister

Rio Paralympics gold medallist Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli is expected to achieve outstanding success in the upcoming Tokyo Paralympic Games. ― Bernama pic
Rio Paralympics gold medallist Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli is expected to achieve outstanding success in the upcoming Tokyo Paralympic Games. ― Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 — Five athletes are expected to achieve outstanding success for the country at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, scheduled to take place from August 24 to September 5.

Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal said they are Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli and Abdul Latif Romly from athletics who were gold medallists at the 2016 Rio Paralympics; Cheah Liek Hou (badminton), S. Suresh (archery) and Bonnie Bunyau Gustin (powerlifting).

“They are in the best position to compete and I hope that these athletes can produce excellent achievements for Malaysia,” he said at an online press conference here today.

He had earlier attended the Malaysian Para Team Motivation Ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and the sponsors appreciation ceremony, which were conducted virtually.

Muhammad Ziyad (F20 shot put); Abdul Latif (long jump T20); and Bonnie (powerlifting category above 72 kilogrammes) are the world record holders for their respective events while Cheah is a six-time world champion and S. Suresh the champion at the 2019 World Archery Championships in Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands.

Wan Ahmad Fayhsal at the same time also believed that the national paralympic contingent could repeat their three gold target achieved in Rio 2016 as announced by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican last month, for this year’s Games in Japan.

Meanwhile,  Paralympic Council of Malaysia president, Datuk Seri Megat D Shahriman Zaharudin said all the athletes were able to absorb the pressure to compete in the Games even though some of them could not compete for some two years in international    competitions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Megat D Shahriman, who is also Malaysia’s chef de mission to the Tokyo Paralympic Games, also said that he did not see the lack of competitive action at the international level as a problem because athletes from other countries also faced similar constraints at this time.

Malaysia’s 22-strong contingent will be competing in nine sports and 32 events in total. — Bernama

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