ATHENS Paralympics-bound Mohd Salam Sidik (pic) will fulfil a dream to represent Selangor in Sukma in the archery competition, which will be held in Pedas from May 31-June 4.
Salam, who will compete sitting on a wheelchair, earned a place in the team with a fourth-place finish in the Selangor Games last year.
“The top four get to shoot for Selangor in Sukma. Hopefully, I can return home with a medal,” said the 21-year-old Salam, who is the sole disabled athlete in the Selangor contingent for the biennial Games.
“It is a dream come true for me. I just can't express my joy and excitement.
Six gold medals are at stake the men's competitions – in individual 30m, 50m, 70m , 90m and 79m elimination round and 70m team.
Salam, who was wheelchair-bound at the age of 11 after a road accident in Johor, will feature in all six events.
“I was walking back from my friend's house in the afternoon when a taxi hit me and I became paralysed from the waist down,” he said.
Salam was sent to the vocational school in Cheras to further his education and also to go through rehabilitation at the medical centre in Kuala Lumpur.
He moved to Selangor four years ago and took up archery in April 2001.
“My friends encouraged me to take up the sport. I shot a few arrows and I loved it. The sport gave me a chance to compete against able-bodied athletes and I decided to take it up seriously,” said Salam.
He started training for six hours a day, five days a week, at the Rumah Insaniah Dr Siti Hashmah in Jalan Kelang Lama three years ago.
All the hard work has paid off with qualification to the Athens Paralympics in October.
He made the grade at the Asia and South Pacific championships for the disabled at the Shah Alam Mini Stadium in February.
Salam accumulated 1,216 points to finish second. The efforts also put him in eighth in the world rankings for disabled archers. The top 32 make the cut for the Athens Paralympics.