KUALA LUMPUR: Paralympics long jump bronze medallist Siti Noor Radiah Ismail may have to forget about qualifying for her second Paralympics Games in Tokyo from Aug 25 to Sept 6.
Her only chance to qualify for the Games was at the Handisport Open in Paris from May 6-8 but it has been postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
The 26-year-old Siti needed to beat the qualifying mark of 5.20m in the long jump T20 (intellectual impairment) for the Paralympics but now, it looks like it’s all over.
“The Handisport Open was the only meet to secure a place in Tokyo. I’m not sure whether it will be held.
“I truly hope that the situation will improve in the next few weeks, ” said Siti, who did a personal best of 5.20m to win bronze in the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
The World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates last November, was the other qualifying tournament for Siti but she skipped the meet due to a knee injury.
National para athletics chief coach R. Jaganathan said the worsening Covid-19 situation in Europe has affected the athletes’ chances to qualify for Paralympics.
“The Italian Open (in Jeselo from May 22-24) has also been postponed, ” said Jaganathan.
“We are in a dilemma as we are not sure whether these two meets (in Italy and France) will be held later if the situation improves.
“But for now we just have to wait.”
Jaganathan said four others who have yet to qualify for the Paralympics are Nasharuddin Mohamed in men’s 400m T20, Mohd Aliff Mohd Awi (shot putt F20), Zulkifli Abdullah (long jump T20) and Siti Noor Iasah Ariffin in the women’s 400m T20.
Only four para athletes have secured their places in the Tokyo Games after winning medals in the world championships in Dubai last year and they are Mohd Ridzuan Mohd Puzi 100m T36 (celebral palsy), Ziyad Zolkefli in the men’s shot putt F20, Abdul Latif Romly in the men’s long jump F20 and Jonathan Wong in men’s long jump T12 (visual impairment).
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