Six Para Games top guns: It’s all in the family
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — Family was the mantra of the day as Malaysia opened its Asean Para Games track and field competition with six gold medals.
Siti Noor Radiah Ismail, Rio paralympics women’s T20 (intellectual disability) long jump bronze medallist, got the ball rolling when she struck gold with a leap of 4.99m on her second attempt.
“Got to thank my folks as they’re the ones who’re got me to this point,“ said Siti.
Faridal Masri added the second in the men’s F56 (wheelchair) javelin with a 28.86m throw.
Then, Eddy Barnard won the men’s T37 (Track, cerebral palsy) 100m final with a personal best time of 12.45s. He was followed closely by Jacklon Ganding who finished 0.03s behind.
“I’m ecstatic. It’s my first Asean Para Games and I’m a champion,” beamed Eddy. “I feel like I can do better, I’m pumped and I want to improve my times.
“This victory is for my family and coaches,” said Eddy who idolises Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse.
Siti Noor Iasah Ariffin delivered the fourth gold in the women’s T20 800m. It was her first time in the competition.
“I’ve got a great support group who stay by my side through thick and thin. This one’s for them,” exclaimed Siti.
Hemala Devi Eni Kutty kept Malaysia on gold course with a 32.46 throw in the Javelin F12 (visual impairment), relegating Nor Hensan Mata of Brunei (24.0) and Noor Kalsum Fadil (18.46) to silver and bronze.
Last gold but not least, the men’s T12 (compete with sighted guide) 100m went to Afiq Ali Hanafiah who crossed the line in 11.45s.
“It’s my first 100m win and it’s down to my parents. They’ve gave me confidence to take up the sprint as my pet race is 200m,” explained Afiq who holds the Asean Para Games record of 23.32s which he clocked en route to winning the gold at the previous edition in Singapore.
“It’s a great boost for my confidence as at this year’s World Championships in London, I was injured and couldn’t compete.
“I’m going for greater heights and I know I have strong people behind me to guide me along the way,” added the 23-year-old.
Malaysia competed in 12 finals and came out with half the gold medals. 28 medals are up for grabs today.