THE Malaysian Paralympic athletes are focusing on the London Paralympics after their impressive outing in the Asean Para Games in Solo, Indonesia.
The athletics team’s chief coach R. Jeganathan said Malaysia won 28 gold, 20 silver and 18 bronze medals in the Asean Para Games.
“It was a good outing for the Malaysian athletes in Indonesia. From now onwards, the athletes will start their preparations for the Paralympics,’’ said Jeganathan.
In the Asean Para Games, four athletes — Eryanto Bahtiar, Mohd Ziyad Zolkefli, Nur Suhana Ramlan and E. Hemala Devi — won more than one gold medal each. Eryanto, 25, won gold medals in the triple and long jump events. Mohd Ziyad was the winner in the shot putt and discus; Hemala won in the shot putt, javelin and discus while Nur Suhana triumphed in the discus, javelin and shot putt.
All four are full time trainees of the National Sports Council (NSC) training programme and are among the top ranked athletes in their respective categories in the International Paralympic Council (IPC) rankings.
Besides the four, another 10 athletes are also in the NSC’s full time training programme. They are Mohd Hisham Khaironi, Mohd Raduan Emean, Muhammad Hafiz Abu Bakar, Nur Syazwani Abdullah, Amir Firdauss Jamaluddin, H. Krishnakumar, Ahmad Rafee Ariffin, Hisam Che Soh, Faridul Masri and Mohd Saifudin Ishak.
Jeganathan said all 10 were also medallists in the Asean Para Games and have been identified for the Paralympics.
“They will be taking part in international competitions to either maintain their current ranking or improve them. They must earn their spots in the Paralympics,’’ said Jeganathan.
The athletes’ first competition for 2012 will be in Kuwait. The NSC are in the midst of identifying the athletes but the core will be from the full time trainees.
“The athletes resumed training after the Christmas holidays. They have been set targets and we are confident they will live up to expectations,’’ added Jeganathan.