PETALING JAYA: With two golds in the bag, head coach R. Jeganathan is banking on Ridzuan Puzi to deliver in the men’s T36 (cerebral palsy) 100m to make it Malaysia’s best-ever outing at the World Para Athletics Championships in London this Saturday.
The nation rejoiced with Rio Paralympic gold medallists Ziyad Zolkefli and Abdul Latif Romly emerging triumphant within a space of 12 hours at the weekend.
After Ziyad broke his own world record en route to win the men’s shot putt F20 (learning disability) on Saturday, it was Abdul Latif’s turn to successfully retain his men’s long jump T20 (learning disability) on Sunday.
Ziyad broke his own world record of 16.84m set in Rio last year after hurling 17.29m to reclaim the title he last won in the 2013 edition in Lyon, France.
Abdul Latif leapt 7.37m to better his own championship record of 7.35m which he set en route to the gold in the 2015 edition in Doha, Qatar.
Perlis-born Ridzuan won Malaysia’s first gold at the Rio Paralympics last year when he sprinted to a new record of 12.07.
He will be the last Malaysian in action this Saturday. He is the defending champion, having won the title in Doha two years ago.
“We’ve achieved our two-gold target, but I hope we can get another one through Ridzuan. I’ve been coaching him for some time and he’s eager to go all out to clock a new personal best.
“But I told him the record is not so important. What’s more important is to win it so the Malaysian flag will be raised again.
“If we can win another gold, it will be our best ever outing at the World Championships,” said Jeganathan.
Rio Paralympic bronze medallist Siti Nor Radiah Ismail was in action yesterday but she could only finish seventh in the women’s T20 (learning disability) long jump final.
Siti, who is the Asian record holder following her 5.20m effort in Rio last year, could only clear 4.96m.
Croatia’s Mikela Ristoski, the Paralympic champion, took the gold with a 5.66m distance.