Mohd Yusril Hafiz: 'Never in my dreams did I think that I would be granted the opportunity to challenge for a Sukma gold medal.'
KANGAR: Federal Territories lawn bowls player Mohd Yusril Hafiz is not going to allow disability stand in his way to success.
The 21-year-old, who was born with a deformed left leg, is excited about the prospect of challenging for medals with able-bodied athletes when the Sukma lawn bowls competition begins at the State Sports Complex on Sunday.
Yusril’s previous competitive lawn bowls experiences have all been in the Paralympic Games.
“I have been playing lawn bowls competitively for the past two years in the Para Games. I have won medals for Selangor in competitions for the disabled but this is the first time that I will compete in an able-bodied tournament like Sukma,” said the Kedah-born Yusril, who resides in the Klang Valley.
“My coach Mohamad Rashidi said that I had the talent to compete with the able-bodied athletes and he was the one who encouraged me to attend the open trials for the FT Sukma squad.
“Never in my dreams did I think that I would be granted the opportunity to challenge for a Sukma gold medal.”
Yusril will compete in the men’s fours event in Kangar.
The FT lawn bowls team manager Hassan Jinin said that Yusril was selected based on the player’s ability and not because of compassionate grounds.
“We had open trials to select the FT players for the Perlis Sukma. We conducted a singles competition to select the top six men and women finishers, and Yusril was among the top finishers. He has every right to compete here as one of the six top men’s players in FT,” said Hassan.
“There is no mention about eligibility of disabled athletes in the Sukma rulebook. We have earmarked Yusril to deliver a medal, preferably a gold, in the fours event.”
Hassan added that the FT lawn bowls squad have been set a four-medal target with at least two gold medals.