PETALING JAYA: Siti Noor Radiah leapt to a surprise bronze medal in the women’s T20 (intellectual disability) long jump final at the Rio Paralympics to give the nation an inspiring Malaysia Day gift.
The 22-year-old Siti Radiah soared to 5.20m on her third attempt at the Rio Olympic Stadium yesterday to improve on her own Asian record of 5.10m set at the Asian Games two years ago.
In Incheon, Siti Radiah and Siti Noor Iasah Mohd Ariffin made it a gold and silver sweep for Malaysia.
Siti Noor Iasah, who missed out on the bronze medal in the women’s T20 400m final by a photo-finish on Monday, was fourth with 4.91m.
Croatia’s Mikela Ristoski took gold with 5.79m while the silver went to Poland’s Karolina Kucharczyk, who jumped a distance of 5.55m.
Winning the bronze medal is a fantastic achievement for Siti Radiah who was competing in a strong field headlined by the top three winners in the event from the IPC Para Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, last year.
Kucharczyk is the world record holder at 6.09m and the defending champion from the London Paralympics four years ago.
In London, Kucharzyk set the Paralympic record of 6.00m.
Ristoski was the silver medallist in Doha while the bronze medallist Olena Rozdobudko of Ukraine was fifth yesterday with 4.91m.
“It was a very strong field and we can’t expect more from her. We knew she was capable of breaking the Asian record but to get a medal is just fantastic,” said head coach R. Jaganathan.
Siti, who is from Segamat, Johor, also made her way into the history books as the first Malaysian female Paralympics medal winner in athletics.
She stands to get RM100,000 and also a monthly allowance of RM2,000 for life for her efforts under the National Sports Council incentive scheme.Malaysia has already three gold medals to show through Mohd Ridzuan Mohd Puzi (men’s T36 100m), Ziyad Zolkefli (men’s F20 shot putt) and Mohd Latif Romly (men’s T20 long jump).
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