Asian Para Games: Achievement in Hangzhou augurs well for Malaysia in future Paralympics

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Asian Para Games: Achievement in Hangzhou augurs well for Malaysia in future Paralympics
Asian Para Games: Achievement in Hangzhou augurs well for Malaysia in future Paralympics

Malaysia’s athletes shone in Hangzhou by easily exceeding the target of 35 medals set by the Paralympic Council Malaysia (PCM). — Bernama pic

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Sunday, 29 Oct 2023 1:06 PM MYT

HANGZHOU, Oct 29 — Malaysia’s ’special’ athletes at the 2022 Para Asian Games in Hangzhou proved their mettle by continuing to maintain an excellent pace and making the country proud.

Having achieved an impressive success at the 2023 Asean Para Games in Cambodia last June, they shone in Hangzhou by easily exceeding the target of 35 medals set by the Paralympic Council Malaysia (PCM).

With a line-up of a total of 113 athletes, including 53 new faces who were making their debut on the prestigious stage, they brought home seven gold, 15 silver and 17 bronze medals to occupy the 12th place in the medal table.

The cycling camp contributed the most medals, with one gold, six silver and four bronze, followed by the athletics team with three gold, two silver and four bronze.

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The swimming team fared no less when they managed to contribute one gold in addition to four bronze followed by badminton (0-2-2), lawn bowling (0-2-2), boccia (1-2-0), powerlifting (1-0-1) and wheelchair tennis (0-1-0).

Besides the medal collection, the national contingent also proved that their journey to Hangzhou was not just a holiday as they also set new records, including in athletics and powerlifting.

The new gem of athletics Muhammad Ammar Aiman Nor Azmi stole the limelight when he not only returned home with gold, but also did the nation proud after clocking a new Asian and games record of 47.60s en route to winning the men’s 400m T20 (intellectual impairment) gold medal.

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What made Muhammad Ammar Aiman’s achievement even more remarkable is that it broke the previous Games record of 49.32s set by compatriot Nasharuddin Mohd and the Asian record of 47.80s set by Iran’s Torkamani Milad Ramazani.

In powerlifting, world and Paralympic champion Bonnie Bunyau Gustin left no room for surprises as he claimed the Under-72kg class gold with a 230kg lift – a new games record.

National powerlifting champion Bonnie Bunyau Gustin did not miss the title of champion for the 72 kilogram (kg) event by lifting a weight of 230kg, which is also a new record for the games. The record was previously held by Iranian powerlifter Roohallah Rostami with a 229 kg lift.

Paralympic Council Malaysia (MPM) president Datuk Seri Megat D Shahriman Zaharudin regards the achievement at Hangzhou as an indication of the gold medals already in the hands of athletes who have reserved an early slot for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

The athletes are Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli (shot put), Datuk Abdul Latif Romly (long jump) and Muhammad Nur Syaiful Zulkafli (swimming).

At the same time, it gives a clear picture that MPM’s long-term plan to produce more potential athletes for the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games and the Brisbane 2032 Paralympic Games is on the right track.

“Thirty-two per cent of the athletes are new faces so I believe this is our backer in the future and more can be produced.

“We will also intensify the programme to identify potential athletes and I hope the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) can help to ensure that it is not disrupted,” he said.

The fourth APG Games officially closed its curtain yesterday with the host China defending the overall title for the fourth time in a row, winning 214 golds, 167 silvers and 140 bronze medals.

Iran occupied the second place with 44-46-41 followed by Japan (42-49-59). — Bernama

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