Weightlifter Mohd Zulhelmi Pisol in action during the clean and jerk event at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games on Friday. - AFP
GLASGOW: Malaysia’s first medal winner at the 20th Commonwealth Games – Mohd Zulhelmi Pisol – is set to go places.
The 21-year-old Penangite’s Herculean efforts in winning an unexpected silver medal on the opening day of the weightlifting competition may have won him tickets to compete in two major events later this year – the Incheon Asian Games in South Korea in September and the World Championship in Kazakhstan in November.
Zulhelmi, who is still on cloud nine after his silver surprise, said that being new to the sport, he hopes to get as much exposure as he can from international competitions.
“I’m so happy to have won the first medal for Malaysia ... and that too in my first international competition. It is a good start for me and I intend to do much better in future. It is a good learning experience but I won’t rest on my laurels,” promised Zulhelmi.
The rookie weightlifter won the silver in the men’s 56kg category with a total lift of 245kg at the Cldye Auditorium in Glasgow on Thursday (4am Malaysian time on Friday).
He lifted 108kg in the snatch and 137kg in the clean and jerk. India’s Sukhen Dey and Ganesh Mali won the gold and bronze respectively.
Sukhen lifted a total of 248kg – 109kg (snatch) and 139kg (clean and jerk) – while Ganesh’s total score was 244kg – 111kg (snatch) and 133kg (clean and jerk).
Malaysian team manager Philip Gisan was happy for Zulhelmi, whom he described as “a new find in the sport”.
“Zulhelmi impressed us when he attended the Commonwealth Games selection during the pre-Sukma trials. He came from the back-up squad and has a great future,” said Philip.
“We plan to find out if Zulhelmi has met the qualification for the Asian Games. Once he gets the nod, then he should qualify for the world meet as well.”
The Malaysian Weightlifting Federation (MWF) are eyeing more than five medals, including two golds.
The other lifters in the men’s team are Constantine Clement (62kg); Mohd Hafifi Mansor and Mohd Azril Huzairi Ramli (69kg); Abdul Mubin Rahim and Loro Wellkinson Peuji (both 77kg); and Mohd Faiz Musa (94kg).
The women lifters are Azizah Fadzil (53kg), Frenceay Titus (58kg) and Nur Jannah Batrisyah (above 75kg).
Malaysia have never returned home empty-handed in weightlifting since the 1994 Victoria Games.
Their best performance to date was at the 2002 Manchester Games, bagging eight medals – three golds and five bronzes.