Yesterday proved victorious for team Malaysia in the 9th ASEAN Para Games held right here in Kuala Lumpur, and we couldn’t be more proud of our athletes’ achievements!
Here are just some of the gold medal winners from yesterday we wanted to highlight to inspire everyone out there that you can accomplish anything with enough determination and hard work. Also, it’s for us all to show our appreciation for all their efforts. We’re sure there will be plenty more gold medals where this came from!
1. Siti Noor Iasah Mohd Ariffin
Growing up in Johor, Siti Noor Iasah’s life wasn’t easy. She grew up with her family, who were always taunted by others. They called them “forest people” because they lived near a jungle. She was weak in her studies, but excelled in sports. She later went on to represent Johor on a national level, and went on to compete internationally in the Asian Para Games.
In 2016, Siti got to compete in the Rio Paralympics, where she got really close to winning 3rd place in the women’s 400m T20 event. Now, Siti won a gold medal in the women’s 800m T20 (intellectual disability) event on Monday (18th September), and we couldn’t be more proud of her!
2. Zuhairie Ahmad Tarmizi
Zuhairie’s past definitely had its ups and downs. During his younger days, he would help his family earn a living by helping them at their sugarcane juice stall. Little did he know that his life would change forever in 2012 when his hand got stuck in the sugarcane machine. His injuries were so bad that in the end, his hand had to be amputated.
However, two years later in 2014 when he thought all hope was lost, Zuhairie received a call from the National Sports Council (NSC), giving him the opportunity to become a para cyclist.
Now, he’s part of our national para cycling team, who won a total of seven gold medals in track cycling yesterday at the ASEAN Para games! Zuhairie himself won a gold medal in the men’s 4km individual pursuit (C5) final, which he dedicated to his son. We couldn’t be more proud of him!
3. Hemala Devi
Hemala Devi kept the gold medals coming when she won two gold medals in the discus F12 and shot put F11/F12 events.
Despite having a visual impairment, Hemala has made waves as a para athlete, representing Malaysia in the 2012 London Olympics as well as the 2014 Asian Para Games in South Korea.
What you may not have known was that while she was competing, she was actually ill! Yes, she won TWO gold medals while she was sick!
What’s more, the ambitious athlete plans to aim for a third gold on Thursday (21st September) in the javelin event! We’re rooting for you, Hemala!
4. Eddy Bernard
16-year-old Eddy Bernard, who hails from Sandakan, Sabah, is a secondary school student with big dreams. Despite having cerebral palsy, he wasn’t afraid to chase his dreams of becoming a national athlete. One of his idols is Canadian Olympic athlete, Andre de Grasse, who he aspires to be like one day.
Yesterday, Eddy made our hearts swell with pride when he won gold in the 100m T37 race (cerebral palsy). This is his first time competing in the ASEAN Para Games, so he was understandably overcome with emotion when he won the race, yelling “Saya istimewa” (“I am special”) after winning the gold.
5. Siti Noor Radiah Ismail
Siti Noor Radiah Ismail is definitely an ambitious trailblazer, who has made waves in para athletics all over Asia despite her intellectual disability. In 2014, she set a record of jumping 5.10m at the 2014 Asian Para Games in South Korea.
She then went on to smash that record and won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, making her the first female Malaysian para athlete to ever win a medal in athletics at the highly competitive games!
Now, Siti won gold for team Malaysia in the afternoon’s first event, the women’s long jump T20. You go, girl!
6. Mohd Najib Turano
Najib Turano, who hails from Banting, made us all proud yesterday when he bagged a gold medal in the men’s 4km individual pursuit event.
Prior to his career as a para cyclist, Najib reportedly met with a terrible accident while cycling in 2007, which left him with a spinal cord injury and a dislocated leg. His recovery was long and difficult, causing him a lot of emotional distress. It was only 5 years later in 2012, when he had the courage to contact the National Sports Council of Malaysia (MSN) to join its Paralympic Cycling programme.
Now, years after recovering from a traumatic injury, he won a gold medal in the ASEAN Para Games, making us all immensely proud!
What an amazing group of athletes! We wish them all the best as they continue to compete in the games and make us proud. Malaysia boleh!
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