KUALA LUMPUR: Rio Paralympics bronze medallist Siti Noor Radiah Ismail (pic) has yet to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. And the Handisport Open in Paris from May 6-8 will be her do-or-die chance to qualify for the women’s long jump T20 (intellectual impairment) in Tokyo.
However, if the current Covid-19 scare continues as the Paris meet is called off, her dreams of a second Paralympics will be over.
The 30-year-old Siti has a personal best of 5.20m, which she did in Rio en route to her bronze medal.
National para athletics chief coach R. Jaganathan said Siti needs to surpass her personal best to earn a place in the Paralympics.
“Some athletes have managed a distance of 5.20m in competitions. I have faith in Siti and believe she will be able to beat the mark to qualify for her second Paralympics, ” said Jaganathan.
Jaganathan said Siti had been down to compete in the World Para Athletics Championships – a Paralympics qualifying meet – in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) last November, but she could not go because of a knee injury.
“We were supposed to send our para athletes for another competition, the Italian Open (in Jeselo from May 22-24) but we have decided not to because the Covid-19 virus is spreading fast in Italy, ” said Jaganathan.
Besides Siti, four other para athletes will feature in the Handisport Open to try and win places in Tokyo.
They are Nasharuddin Mohamed in the men’s 400m T20 (intellectual impairment), Mohd Aliff Mohd Awi in the men’s shot putt F20, Zulkifly Abdullah in the men’s long jump T20 and Siti Noor Iasah Mohd Ariffin in the women’s 400m T20.
Jaganathan said Nasharuddin needs to clock 49.50 to qualify for the Paralympics while Siti Noor Iasah needs to beat the qualifying mark of 59.30.
“Aliff has to reach 13m while Zulkifly needs to clear 6.84m to secure a place in the Games, ” said Jaganathan.
Four para athletes have confirmed their places after winning medals in the world championships in Dubai last year. They are Mohd Ridzuan Mohd Puzi T36 (cerebral palsy), Ziyad Zolkefli men’s shot putt F20, Abdul Latif Romly in men’s long jump F20 and Jonathan Wong in men’s T12 (visual impairment).
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