ZUHAIRIE Ahmad Tarmizi (pic) always dreamt of making it in football.
But a tragic accident while helping his family sell sugarcane juice five years ago changed his fortunes.
His right hand got stuck in the sugarcane machine at his family’s stall during Pasar Ramadan in Marang, Terengganu.
It had to be amputated at the wrist. His dreams were crushed.
But then came a call from the National Sports Council (NSC) two years later that gave him a lifeline.
He became a para cyclist – something he never considered.
Zuhairie made the best of his situation and is now the pride of the nation after notching up a golden double at the Kuala Lumpur Asean Para Games.
A day after clinching the men’s 1km time trial (C5) gold, Zuhairie rose to the occasion yesterday to win a second in the 4km individual pursuit final.
The 27-year-old clocked 5:06.968 to take the gold ahead of Filipino Eustaquio Bucay (5:15.574).
The C category is for a cyclist who has upper or lower limb disability or severe neurological dysfunction.
After the race, Zuhairie could be seen wiping away his tears of joy as he dedicated the gold to his seven-month-old son Harith Amsyar.
Zuhairie, who got married at the beginning of the year, said that it was his son who kept him going.
“I used to play football for T-Team. During a break for the Ramadan month, I went to help my family sell sugarcane juice at the bazaar.
“My palm got stuck in the machine and I lost my hand as a result. It really broke me. Even though I never wanted to be a cyclist, when the offer came from NSC, I accepted it with an open heart.
“One door was closed but another opened for me. I’d like to thank my family for their support.
“I dedicate the two golds to my son, who motivated me to reach higher in life,” said Zuhairie, whose gold was the fifth for Malaysia yesterday.
Malaysia won all five events yesterday to complete a clean sweep of all 12 golds at stake.