KUALA LUMPUR: Mohd Ziyad Zolkefli (pic) trained in Mannheim, Germany, three times this year and had high hopes of retaining his men’s shot putt F20 (intellectual impairment) gold in the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
But the world record holder failed to do so after his best effort of 17.03m only handed him the silver at the Dubai Club For People With Determination Stadium on Saturday.
His effort was way off his world record of 17.29m he set at the world meet in London two years ago.
Maksym Koval of Ukraine bagged the gold with 17.11m while Efstratios Nikolaidis of Greece took the bronze with a personal best of 16.61m.
Sixteen athletes took part in the event and Ziyad, the gold medallist at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics in 2016, was leading with a 17.03m effort in his fifth throw.
However, the Ukrainian threw 17.11m in his sixth and last throw to deny Ziyad his third world title.
Ziyad, who also won in Lyon, France in 2013, had the chance to beat Koval for the gold but he only managed a poor 16.48m in the last attempt.
Another Malaysian Mohd Awi Mohd Aliff also took part in the event and did a personal best of 13.40m to finish 12th. His previous best was 13.09m.
Ziyad was clearly disappointed with his efforts.
“The gold was in my hands until the fifth throw but the Ukrainian athlete snatched it with a better throw, ” said Ziyad.
“I am disappointed with my performance as I failed to defend my gold and also my efforts were nowhere near my personal best despite training in Mannheim this year.
“I learned a lesson that you cannot take anything for granted in a competition. I have to train much harder for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo next year.”
Malaysia will now be hoping for Abdul Latif Romly to defend his gold in the men’s long jump F20 category. Latif also won gold in the Rio Paralympics.
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