KUALA LUMPUR: Norfirzan Mah-mud’s budding athletic career was cut short when he was diagnosed with cancer.
Norfizan, who was competing in field events like the javelin and shot putt, had leiomyosarcoma (LMS) cancer in his left leg when he was a teenager.
Leiomyosarcoma is a rare type of cancer that affects smooth muscle tissue. These tumours are most common in the abdomen, but can occur anywhere in the body. Other common areas include blood vessels and skin.
His left leg had to be amputated from the thigh and Norfirzan was left traumatised by the turn of events.
It took him a while to get back on his feet before taking up a new sport, lawn bowls.
And Nurfirzan has not looked back since taking it up 17 years ago.
The now 59-year-old bowler represented Malaysia at the Asian Para Games in Jakarta last year and won two silvers in the singles B6 (physical disability) and also in the pairs partnering Rattna’aizah Idris.
Nurfirzan said that when he was a field athlete, he represented Perlis in javelin and shot putt at the National Schools Sports Council (MSSM) Championships in the 70s.
“My dream was to become a national athlete but it all ended when I was diagnosed with cancer, ” he said.
“Although my leg was amputated, I never gave up hope of representing the country in sports.
“I took up lawn bowls and trained diligently to hone my skills. The Jakarta Games was definitely my best outing to date.
“It was a proud moment for me. Although I’m now 59, physically and mentally I’m in good shape.
“I’m looking forward to a good outing at the Asia Lawn Bowls Championships (for the disabled at the Bukit Kiara Lawn Bowls Sta-dium which started yesterday).
“I will be competing in both singles and pairs and it will be great if I can bag at least a gold.”
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