Khairy challenges Paralympians to further improve after success

Paralympic medalist, Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi (right), Abdul Latif Romly (right top) ), Siti Noor Radiah Ismail ( left) dan Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli (left top )posing with the KIA Sportage after receiving rewards form Naza Corporation Holding at NAZA Tower in Kuala Lumpur. AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin does not want the four Malaysian medallists at the Rio Paralympics to rest on their laurels.

And he has challenged them to continue to improve their personal bests after attending a Naza Corporation Holdings’ function to reward the medallists on Monday.

At the function, the company rewarded the three gold medallists – Mohd Ridzuan Mohd Puzi (sprinter), Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli (shot putt) and Abdul Latif Romly (long jump) – with a unit of residential suite at Trion 888, Equine Park, worth RM350,000 each.

The trio also received their keys to a new Kia Sportage vehicle worth RM121,888. Siti Noor Radiah Ismail, the bronze medallist in the women’s long jump, was given a new Kia Rio Sedan worth RM72,888.

Ridzuan bagged the country’s first-ever Paralympics gold after he won the T36 (cerebral palsy) 100m event.

Ziyad and Abdul Latif set world records on their way to winning the men’s F20 (intellectual disability) shot putt and T20 (intellectual disability) long jump while Siti improved her Asian record en route to the bronze in the women’s T20 long jump final.

“Please manage your success and don’t let this cloud your eyes. There are more important tournaments to come, including the IPC Athletics World Championships in London (July) and the Asean Para Games in Kuala Lumpur (September) next year. I want to see you perform in these championships. 

“Ridzuan was outstanding in posting a new Paralympic record in Rio (12.07). Now, I hope he can go under 12 seconds for the first time.

“I also want to see Ziyad throwing more than 17m (he cleared 16.84m in Rio) and Abdul Latif breaking the national long jump record for able-bodied athletes.

“Abdul Latif leapt to a new world record of 7.60m in Rio and it’s just 0.28m off the national record for able-bodied athletes.

“In fact, I want to see him try for the SEA Games gold medal next year as he is up to it,” said Khairy.

The national able-bodied long jump record is 7.88m, set by Josbert Tinus in 2007.

Naza Corporation Holdings chairman and chief executive officer SM Nasarudin SM Nasimuddin said the total reward given to the four athletes amounted to RM1.5mil.

“What they did was extraordinary. These champions deserve to be recognised and rewarded.

“I am thrilled and proud of this milestone as this is the biggest success in the country’s sports history.

“I hope we can repeat this at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo,” said Nasarudin, who took over as the president of the Paralympic Council of Malaysia in January this year.

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