Tokyo on Bakri’s mind

Solid form: Bakri Omar in action against Le Van of Vietnam in the men’s singles SL4 match at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

BAKRI Omar is already 42 and plants padi for a living. But that hasn’t stopped him from dreaming of competing at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Having injured his leg when he fell from a tree when he was eight, life has been tough for him.

But he has always kept his chin up.

The last 10 years, however, have been more difficult than usual as he has had to juggle between training at the badminton court and tending to his padi field in Bertam Malim, Melaka.

He knows the value of hard work and perseverance.

And he is also his own worst critic.

That’s why he was far from pleased with his performance despite winning his first men’s singles SL4 (impairment in the lower limbs) match in the badminton competition at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

The top seed defeated Le Van of Vietnam 21-16, 21-17 in an error-strewn round-robin match.

Bakri, a former world champion, said that he’s using the Asean Para Games and the World Champion­ships in South Korea in November as platforms to decide on his future in the national team.

“It (match against Le Van) wasn’t a good match. I struggled in front of my home fans. My service was a letdown,” said Bakri, who won the doubles gold at the 2005 World Championships and a silver in singles at the 2015 World Cham­pion­ships.

“I just returned from Japan (Para-badminton championships in Tok­yo). Malaysia had four representatives and I was the only one who didn’t win any medals.

“I have competed in all kinds of tournaments since 2005 and I always returned with a medal. So, when I didn’t win any this time, it was difficult to accept.

“And today I didn’t play my best. Maybe, all these are tell-tale signs (to call it a day).”

Bakri said the only thing that keeps him going is his dream of competing in the 2020 Tokyo Para­lym­pics.

“Hopefully, I will do well in the Asean Para Games and the World Championships in Novem­ber. I need to do well to fulfil my Olympic dream.

“I just hope that I can stick around and keep ahead of the youngsters until the 2020 Para­lympics.”

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