Another blunder, another disappointment for Syaiful

PETALING JAYA: Oh no, not again!

Swimmer Nur Syaiful Zulkafli has to quickly pick himself up from yet another setback if he wants to be on the podium in his pet event, the 50m freestyle S5 (physical disabilities) on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old was disqualified for the second time in the 100m breaststroke SB4 at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre yesterday for another infraction.

National Sports Council (NSC) Paralympic Division director Mohd Sofian Hamzah told Bernama: “Nur Syaiful’s head failed to surface for a distance of 15 metres in the early stage of the race which is against the rules.”

Syaiful, who finished third in Heat 1, was left devastated after the latest misfortune.

Last week, Syaiful, who suffered deformity in both legs after being involved in an accident when he was 17, did not qualify for the final of the S5 men’s 200m freestyle event after picking up the first infringement.

A taped waterproof plaster to cover a boil on his shoulder ended his chances.

If not for yesterday’s disqualification, Syaiful could have made it to his second final of the week following a creditable seventh place finish in the 100m freestyle S5 on Thursday.

His ineligibility paved the way for Italy’s Francesco Bocciardo to snatch the last ticket to the afternoon’s final.

Only eight fastest swimmers from the two heats move into the medal showdown.

Russian Paralympic Committee’s Dmitrii Cherniaev (1:33.42) won the heats with teammate Aleksandr Molkov coming in a distant second (1:44.37). Bocciardo clocked 1:51.118.

Hopefully, a wiser Syaiful will now tread with caution when he returns to the pool in the 50m freestyle.

In 2019, Syaiful became the first Malaysian swimmer to win a world championship medal when he clinched bronze in the 50m freestyle in London.

He also won gold in the 50m freestyle at the 2018 Indonesia Asian Para Games, making him the first swimmer to do so.

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