KUALA LUMPUR: The badminton net is 1.55m (5’1”) high at the edges and 1.524 (5’) high in the centre.
Kuala Lumpur Asean Para Games shuttler Muhd Naim Ahmad Halmi (pic) only stands at 1.22m (4’).
But that won’t stop the 17-year-old debutant from scaling the heights to deliver Malaysia a good result at KL 2018 at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil from Sept 18-22.
The teenager, who is from Naka, Kedah, will compete in men’s singles under the SS6 (athletes with short stature) class.
The category is limited to athletes with the maximum height of 1.45m (4’9”) for men and 1.3m (4’3”) for women.
The jovial Naim is just excited to represent Malaysia in a major event for the first time.
“I’m nervous and excited. I can even hear my heart beating!,” said a smiling Naim, who joined centralised training two weeks ago.
“The same international rules for able-bodied athletes apply to us too. I have to be very careful when I serve (below the waist) but I’ve learnt the right strategy.”
He demonstrated how he throws the shuttle high enough from his waist before hitting it across to the opponent.
“I’ll be all right if I can serve high and deep to the baseline. Thailand have good shuttlers in this category.
“I may be born like this (referring to his dwarfism) but it hasn’t stopped me from enjoying sport.”
Naim took up powerlifting for a year but the weight was just too much for him to handle.
“Badminton suits me better. I’m glad that coach Ciku (Moe Chin Keat) came to Kedah to identify talents for this sport early this year,” said the Form Five student, who also loves to showcase his sleek skills in football during his free time.
“My body aches after the hard training every day. But every morning I wake up with excitement as I wait to go through another drill. I enjoy it.
“It’ll be great to win a gold in my Asean Games debut but I’ll be just as happy if it’s a bronze. I hope it’ll be a good beginning for me,” added Naim, who hopes to represent Malaysia at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
The other two Malaysians shuttlers in the same category are Didin Terasoh and Ridzuan Yusof.
Malaysia will be presented by 26 shuttlers in 14 events and they are targeted to deliver at least four gold medals.