PETALING JAYA: A viral video showing a teacher running alongside her disabled student to encourage him to cross the finish line at a school sports event has left social media users teary-eyed.
The 48-second video shared on TikTok by user @faridkamaruddin18 showed five schoolchildren participating in a race on a running track, including a one-legged boy on crutches.
Based on a banner spotted in the background of the stadium, the event was the Jerantut District School Sports Council (MSSD) 2023 special education athletics tournament.
The boy, who was the only one with crutches, was seen trying his best to race to the finish line despite being behind all the other participants during the race.
Not only did his perseverance, spirit and tenacity to continue the run win over social media users’ hearts, but so did the caring act by his teacher who ran alongside him to motivate him to cross the finish line.
Many commented that the heart-warming act recorded in the video, which has garnered over 633,000 views as of Tuesday (Aug 29), brought them to tears.
“I was there on duty too. When I saw him running, I clapped my hands to show my support but my eyes were watery,” commented TikTok user @Teacher Mun's Life.
@Nurshafienaz wrote, “My tears are falling. God is great. Thank you teacher. As for the boy, I pray for him to be blessed with strength and success in this world and the afterlife.”
“Who is cutting the onion? I was very touched by the effort of the teacher and the student,” commented user @pinky.
@Nurul Yushida1983 commented, “A mother’s tears have fallen. May all the affairs of this child and teacher be eased.”
“Aunty is crying. He ran with such spirit,” wrote user @salmahidris68 while @AtieCute23 said, “I’m teary-eyed watching this video.”
User @syakirfairus669 then said that “the teacher is the one who moved me. In life, no matter how difficult it is, as long as there is someone to encourage, God willing, there is a way.”
@Akak Saga Kuning commented that the boy could be a para-athlete in the making following in the footsteps of Paralympic champions Ridzuan Puzi, Abdul Latif Romly and Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli.
Some also said that someone should look into contributing a sports prosthetic leg for the boy.
According to Malay daily Harian Metro, the boy is 11-year-old Muhammad Aqil Naufal Zahiran and that he had been shy about running in front of an audience but was determined to get to the finish line like his other peers.
In an interview with the daily, Muhammad Aqil, who is also an Inclusive Education Programme (PPI) pupil at the SK Felda Lepar Utara 1, said it was his first time taking part in a race.
He was also happy when his teacher congratulated him for finishing the race.
“I was shy standing next to the other participants but I continued running even though my pants almost fell because I thought that whatever happens, I wanted to finish the race even if my friends were already far ahead,” he said in the interview.
Muhammad Aqil, who loves playing football, said if given the opportunity to participate in running again, he is ready to take part.
He had his left leg amputated in 2015 due to a bacterial infection while his father passed away two years ago.
Meanwhile, Intan Zulaikha Jusoh, 35, who was also Muhammad Aqil's accompanying teacher during the tournament admitted that she was touched and proud to see the enthusiasm shown by her student in the race.
"My intention of running with him at that time was just to keep encouraging him to continue running to the finish line and to accompany him as I didn't want him to feel like he was running alone because his other friends were far ahead, that's all," she told the daily.