Get ready for the Tokyo Paralympics for Malaysian para athletes are some of the best in the world.  

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games might have drawn its curtains, but another grand sporting showcase is about to take place in the bustling Japanese capital. The 2020 Paralympics is set to welcome approximately 4,400 athletes immersing in 540 events across 22 sports. 

Malaysia will join in the revelry by sending 22 sportspeople who will partake in 9 sports. This is the joint largest contingent the country has ever enlisted, matching that of the 2012 edition and one more than the 2016 edition held in Rio de Janeiro. The latter also marked the country’s most successful outing at the Paralympics, hauling home 3 golds and 1 bronze. From awaiting a maiden gold medal previously, Malaysian Paralympians broke the duck 3 times in a span of two weeks. 

The medallists were Mohamad Ridzuan Puzi, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli, Abdul Latif Romly and Siti Noor Radiah Ismail; all achieved in athletics.  

Between August 24 and September 5, Malaysian para athletes will again look forward to proving their mettle at archery, athletics, badminton, boccia, cycling, powerlifting, swimming, table tennis and wheelchair tennis. Keep an eye out for them. 

Mohamad Ridzuan Puzi 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Mohamad Ridzuan Puzi will be part of the action at men’s 100m T36. At the 2018 Asian Para Games, Ridzuan swept three gold medals at men’s 100m T36, 400m T36 and long jump T36, where he also set the then new world record for the 100m T36 category. Voted the 2018 Best Asian Male Athlete, the first Malaysian to boast such honour and reigning Paralympic champion will be hoping for a repeat to add the gold medal he collected in Rio de Janeiro. He, however, will face a daunting challenge to retain his gold medal.  

Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Representing the country at men’s shot put T20/F20, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli will be eyeing a second Paralympic gold medal. A serial world-record holder, Ziyad set a new mark in Rio de Janeiro en route to victory. A year later at the London 2017 World Championships, he improved upon his own world record by setting a new benchmark that still stands today. 

Abdul Latif Romly

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Abdul Latif Romly was one of the three gold medallists at the Rio Paralympics. A high achiever, Latif lit up the Paralympics by breaking his own world record three times in the same day at men’s long jump T20. In Tokyo, he will lace up for his signature event and defend his gold medal.  

Siti Noor Iasah Mohamad Ariffin

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Missing out on a bronze medal by the tiniest of margins across two events in the last Paralympics, Siti Noor Iasah Mohamad Ariffin will be eyeing for a place on the podium this time. The track specialist will line up for women’s 400m T20, where she is the sole female athlete representing Malaysia in track and field. She was a gold medal winner at the 2018 Asian Para Games.  

Cheah Liek Hou

 

 
 
 
 
 
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6-time singles world champion Cheah Liek Hou will be hunting for a medal in badminton men’s single SU5. The world number 2 ranked player showed impressive form leading up to Tokyo by winning the Spanish Para Badminton International Championship, thereby confirming his spot in the upcoming Paralympics.  

Suresh Selvathamby


2019 World Archery Para Championships gold medallist S. Suresh is well placed for a podium finish in Tokyo for men’s individual recurve. The first Malaysian to win a world para-archery title, Suresh got his start in the sport back in 2012 and a gold medal will surely represent a fitting way to mark a decade filled with trials and tribulations.  

Bonnie Bunyau Gustin

 

 
 
 
 
 
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It was merely two months ago that powerlifter Bonnie Bunyau Gustin set a new world record at the Para Powerlifting World Cup held in Dubai. He lifted an impressive 230kg, one kilo above the previous world record. The victory was his second Para Powerlifting World Cup win this year, with the first occurring in Bangkok in May. He will partake in the men’s 72kg category in the Tokyo Paralympics. 

(Hero and feature images by Alexandre Loureiro / Getty Images)

This article first appeared in Lifestyle Asia KL

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