Anderson signs off with gold
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — Malaysia ended its swimming campaign at the 2017 Asean Para Games with a bang when Anderson Jamba bagged two gold and broke a 12-year-old record yesterday.
Malaysia was placed third with a 9-17-10 haul. Indonesia (39-13-12) placed first and Vietnam (15-22-16), second.
Competing in S4 (torso and legs disabled), the 30-year-old was placed first in men’s 150m individual medley and 50m backstroke.
From Sri Aman, the Sarawakian urged all “special” people like him to find a living in sports.
“Sometimes things happen unexpectedly. Indeed, I faced a lot of difficulties back then. Both of my parents are paddy planters.
“Then one day when I was 14, I caught a very high fever until I was left paralysed — half body, waist down,” he said teary eyed.
Anderson clocked 3:22.21 to smash the 12-year-old Games record of 3:49.01 in the men’s 150m IM set by Malaysia’s Wong Chee Kin in Manila 2005.
Thailand’s Navat Wongnonthaphum took silver with 4:04.98s.
Anderson earlier managed silver in the 50m breaststroke.
Not married yet and a full-time para athletes, Anderson said this is the most meaningful win he had in his entire life.
“After the incident, I felt lonely and desolate but then in 2004 I met Fraidden Dawan (who also won two gold at this Games) at the disabled’s recovery centre in Kuching.
“He persuaded me to join the sport and I agreed,” said the soft-spoken Anderson.
It has been quite a wait since 2014, until finally landing his first para gold on home turf.
“I first competed in Asean Para Games in Myanmar 2014 then Singapore 2016.
“I didn’t win any medal in both but today, I straight away scored double gold and broke the Games record. I’m blessed. When I won the first gold, I was shocked beyond words and conquered fatigue. I in fact became stronger to hunt for the second one,” he added.
Sadly, his parents never saw his feat in KL. “We are poor. They can’t afford to travel and watch me in competition. In fact, they never watch me competing at all,” he said.