MAJOR Yuhaizam Yahya (pic) faced death – and survived.
He was piloting a helicopter when it crashed in Butterworth in 2004.
He survived the crash, but suffered spinal injury and lost the ability to walk.
The 46-year-old, who was warded for a year, never lost hope.
And it is that indomitable spirit that has served him well – not just in his life but also as a para athlete.
The father of four will defend the men’s individual compound archery gold medal at the Asean Para Games.
“I am happy to be with my family and to continue serving the Malaysian Air Force,” said Yuhaizam.
He was pursuing a degree in social science at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Penang in 2010 when he first took up archery.
“The university’s sports official asked me to give archery a try and I fell in love with it.
“A year later, I was making my debut in the Asean Para Games (in Surakarta, Indonesia). I was delighted to win the individual compound gold.
“It was a big boost for my archery career and I also did well to win my second gold in Singapore two years ago,” said Yuhaizam, who got a bronze in Naypyidaw in 2014.
Yuhaizam, who will be featuring in his fourth Asean Para Games, said that as an Air Force officer, he fears no one in competition.
“The main challenger is myself. I want to stay focused and be consistent to defend the gold. The windy conditions at the Archery Range in Bukit Jalil over the last few days posed a problem during training.
“I’m ready to give my best,” said Yuhaizam, who also featured in the Rio Paralympics in September last year.