Malaysian Paralympic Athletes, A Beacon Of Hope In Our Sports Industry
Although living with disabilities presents many challenges, these challenges form the fuel to motivate differently-abled individuals to reach greater heights. In conjunction with our 13-part Merdeka/Malaysia Day series, the Good News team is proud to highlight 5 outstanding Paralympics athletes who beat the odds to achieve remarkable feats and making our nation proud despite their disabilities!
Hailing from Melaka, Mariappan Perumal is the country’s first Paralympic medalist. He contracted polio at the tender age of 3 which made him disabled for life. However, Mariappan refused to allow his condition to be an obstacle.
Since his debut in 1972, Mariappan has maintained a good track record as a well-skilled weightlifter. In fact, he has won over 80 medals throughout the course of his career. His notable achievements include being the proud winner of 3 bronze medals and a seven-time Paralympian in Malaysian history.
Mohammad Ridzuan Mohammad Puzi
Aside from cerebral palsy, Mohammad Ridzuan also has hearing issues and intellectual disability. Growing up, he was often bullied for his disabilities. His peers would often tease him by making fun of his hands and face. However, Ridzuan never allowed these insults to get to him and turned things around by focusing on his ambition of being an athlete.
Today, Ridzuan has cemented his status as one of the greatest athletes in the country. His notable achievements include winning a gold medal for his participation in the 2016 Paralympic Games.
Well, it sure seems like Ridzuan had the last laugh by proving his childhood bullies wrong! 😉
Hasihin was paralyzed due to a fatal accident. Upon attempting to fix a roof, Hasihin fell causing him to be wheelchair-bound. He took up archery and became the first-ever Paralympic medalist in the field. Malaysians citizens and coaches alike were proud as they witnessed Hasihin take home the silver medal at the 2012 Summer Paralympics held in London.
Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli
Zolkefli was often bullied in his younger days for not fitting into the stereotype of a disabled person despite having an intellectual impairment.
“Behind our backs, people would say that if it’s OKU, of course Ziyad would win. They would say, look at him, he’s not really OKU,” said Ziyad’s coach, Mohd Faizal in an interview with The Star. Nevertheless, Zolkefli never lost sight of his dreams. His perserverance eventually paid off when he won a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Paralympics and won the World Championship and Asian Para Games titles in 2013 and 2014 for the T20 classification shot put events.
Siow Lee Chan
48-year-old mother of two, Siow Lee Chan, was the first-ever Malaysian woman to earn a medal in the Paralympic Games. In fact, she ended Malaysia’s 16-year medal drought when she took home the bronze medal for powerlifting in the Women Under 56kg category.
These Malaysian Paralympic athletes have proven that the measure of a person’s greatness lies not in their circumstances but is defined by the strength of one’s character!
We salute these remarkable athletes for their invaluable contribution to Malaysia’s sports industry!
Majulah Sukan Untuk Negara! 💪
* Featured image sourced from Free Malaysia Today