Continued strong performance by Malaysia at Asean Para Games 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, 23 Sept 2017: 

Malaysia piled up another seven gold medals on the last of the athletics competition in the 9th Asean Para Games at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

With the latest collection, Malaysia ended up in second place in the overall athletics medal tally with a haul of 36 gold, 27 silver and 23 bronze medals.

Indonesia became the new athletics powerhouse in the region with 40 gold, 28 silver and 17 bronze medals, while defending champion Thailand fell to third place with 26 gold, 33 silver and 31 bronze.

The national squad’s gold rush began with veteran Faridul Masri in the men’s shot put F56 (Wheelchair) with a throw of 9.24 metres.

World champion Abdul Latif Romly defended his long jump T20 (Learning Disability) gold after clearing 7.41 metres before Doriah Poulus contributed the third gold in the women’s shot put F42/44 (Limb Deficiency) after recording 546 raza points.

As expected, Rio Paralympic gold medalist, Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi outran other contestants in  the men’s 200m T36 (Cerebral Palsy) in 26.03 seconds to defend his gold medal.

Despite still recovering from dengue fever, the national paralympic athlete finished first by clocking 26.03 seconds, and retained the gold medal he won at the 2015 Singapore Games.

“I would like to thank all the supporters,” he said, adding that he dedicated the winning to his coach R. Jeganathan and all Malaysians.

The fifth gold came from Muhamad Afiq Mohamad Ali Hanafiah in the men’s 200m T12 (Visually Impaired), who clocked 23.56 seconds, before Mohd Rozi Mat Hasin delivered the sixth gold medal in the men’s javelin F35 (Cerebral Palsy) with a 27.52 metres throw.

Malaysia’s last athletics gold was delivered by S. Thanvanesvaran, who won his second personal gold medal at the APG in the men’s 200m T42/43/44 (Limb Deficiency) in 24.15 seconds.

After an eight-year hiatus, chess player Nur Faiqah Maulad Mohamed Halil made a successful come back and clinched another gold medal.

The 23-year-old woman bagged her second individual gold in the women’s individual rapid B2 and B3 (vision problem) event at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) after she won the first one in the women’s standard B2 and B3 two days ago, in addition to two silvers in women’s team rapid and standard.

She emerged as champion in yesterday’s round robin with five points after winning five out of six games.

“I was a bit nervous but managed to defeat Phyu Phyu Win from Myanmar since the game was a fix for the gold medal,” said Nur Faiqah who won four gold medals in the 2009 edition in Kuala Lumpur and two gold medals in the 2007 edition in Thailand.

Her win was due to the protest by Vietnam during the game between Nguyen Thi Minh Thu of Vietnam and Brahmana Aisah Wijayanti Putri from Indonesia – which ended with a draw following a third-party intervention by Indonesian coach, who gave instructions to the player during the game.

“Based on the game, there was no way that the Indonesian player could win as she only had a ‘King’ while Vietnam had both the ‘King’ and ‘Queen’.

“However, since there was an intervention, the Indonesian player had to wait until the time was over for a draw because the rapid event was only for 30 minutes,” said national coach Kamal Abdullah.

The para badminton squad displayed excellent performance and achieved the target of winning four gold medals at the Games.

The first gold medal was contributed by wheelchair-bound shuttler, Madzlan Saibon – who defeated Vietnamese Truong Ngoc Binh 21-10, 21-10 in the final of the WH2 category at the Axiata Arena.

The bronze medal was shared by D. Junthong dan S. Aphichat of Thailand after they both lost in the semi-final matches yesterday.

A teacher from Sabah, Didin Taresoh, bagged the second gold medal for Malaysia after winning all matches in the men’s individual SS6 category, which used the round robin format.

The primary school teacher proved that a hectic schedule in school did not deter him from winning a gold medal. Didin – who is the SS6 badminton ​​​​world champion​ in 2015 in London – said the victory yesterday proved hard work could deliver results.

“I want to prove to my pupils that it was not impossible if we try very hard.” In this regard, Didin will have a more difficult assignment after this at the World Championships in Busan, South Korea on Nov 23.

“I  am not placing an extremely high target in Korea apart from Asean Para Games, I did not participate in any international tournament this year.

“There, I could not predict how good the other players are especially those from Europe,” said  Didin who is now ranked second in the world.

In the final match, Didin beat Muhammad Naim Ahmad Halmi 21-1, 24-22. Bunthan Yaemmali of Thailand took the silver, while Naim had to settle with the bronze.

Partnered with Muhammad Ikhawan Ramli, Madzlan bagged another gold medal in the final of men’s doubles WH1-2 event, defeating D.Junthong-Jakarin Homhaul of Thailand 22-20, 21-19.

The bronze medal went to K.Chatchai-S. Aphichat (Thailand) and Hoang Manh-Truong Ngoc Binh (Vietnam).

Cheah Liek Hou maintained the momentum for the Malaysian squad by clinching the fourth gold medal in the men’s individual SU5 category.

He defeated Suryo Nugroho of Indonesia 21-11, 21-15 in the final. Singaporean shuttler Tay Wei Ming and Indonesian Dheva Anrimusthi took the bronze medal.

The national para badminton squad also won three silver medals through Ikhawan, Muhammad Huzairi Abdul Malek and Norrizah Rahim.

The national boccia squad is satisfied with the four silver and two bronze medals it clinched at the Games.

However, coach Mohd Isa Mohd Noh said he was a bit disappointed the squad failed to win a gold medal on own turf.

“If we get the gold medal, it guarantees the future of boccia in Malaysia. However, they have played well against Thai players, all of whom are world’s top ranking players.”

In Singapore, Malaysia clinched two silver medals and a bronze, two years ago. Thailand completed a clean sweep of all seven gold medals offered in boccia as well as two silver and two bronze medals.

The national celebral palsy (CP) football squad have completed the Games with a bronze medal after taming Singapore 4-0 in the  bronze medal decider.

Malaysia opened the score in the 10th minute via Muhammad Khairi Ismail while captain Mohamad Sobri Ghazali widened the gap two minutes later before Mohamad Farisan Jasnal made it 3-0 in the 15th minute.

In the second half, the squad under Asnan Md Zuki completed the rout with the fourth goal in the 34th minute by Mohamad Sobri.

Asnan praised the forwards for translating the strategy well in the pitch. “All players carried out their tasks well and after the defeat yesterday, they made sure of a medal today.”

He said the team redeemed their 2-3 defeat to Thailand in the semi-finals and go home with at least a medal.

He said the pep talk by a National Sport Institute expert managed to raise confidence of players. “It is true the players were feeling down after the semi-finals and luckily they managed to bounce back to deliver a medal.”

Indonesia emerged as champions and grabbed the gold medal after overpowering Thailand 3-0 in the final at the same venue.

Despite missing the gold medal once again this time, Malaysia can now be seen as one of the major powerhouses of wheelchair basketball in Southeast Asia region, besides Thailand.

National coach, Abbas Aghakoucheki Hossein said that the team had improved by leaps and bounds compared to their previous performance in the 2015 Singapore Games.

With this, he noted that Malaysia should now begin talent scouting in order to get additional players of  various types.

“As a professional coach, I found that Malaysia has improved very well, and must continue this way. If we can continue, in the next Asean Para Games, Malaysia can become a strong team.

“As far as I’m concerned, Malaysia played very well today. But in this situation (vs Thailand), we don’t have tall players, we have small and medium players. “It’s about time to find new talent and expose them to competitions.”

Abbas, who was the Iranian coach for the Iran Rio Paralympic team, believed that Malaysia with a population of over 30 million, would find disabled talents who wanted to be part of the national team.

Malaysia lost to Thailand, 56-70 in the gold medal match and with the victory, Thailand retained their gold medal in wheelchair basketball team event for the six consecutive times.

Malaysia have to be content with silver and the Philippines settled for bronze after defeating Myanmar 49-41 in the bronze medal match earlier. The wheelchair basketball event were held in a round robin format.

Team captain Ahmad Nazri Hamzah also said it is high time to scout for new talents, aged 23 and below, to participate in international tournaments and those keen could go to Kampung Pandan here (Paralympic Excellence Centre) or meet with the coach or related parties.

Even though her sight is failing each day, national women’s goalball team captain, Nur Amalina Hares continues to place high hopes to shine in the sport.

Nur Amalina, 26, who could not make it to the school sports team due to her visual impairment was among six players selected in May to represent the country at the Games here.

After being diagnosed with a rare disease called retinitis pigmentosa 13 years ago, her determination to be involved in sports such as football and basketball did not waver.

“I was introduced to goalball in January this year after joining the Malaysian Association for the Blind and was chosen as a national player. I like goalball as it has elements of my favourite sports such as football and tennis.

“I hope the National Sports Council will continue with the goalball programme after this. We are bent on giving our best here to compete at the Asian Para Games next year. Even though the team was just formed several months ago and this is the first competition, we did our best.”

She is now a key figure in the squad who won the goalball bronze medal after losing 0-8  to Laos in the semi-finals at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Centre after only three months of preparations for the biennial championships.

Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic disease due to the lack of protein in the eye retina to grow new cells causing the person to gradually lose sight and could eventually go blind.

“For the time being, my eye sight is only 30%, it has deteriorated in the past three years. Treatment is still being researched, among them are gene therapy and stem-cell therapy, but they are concentrated in western countries.

“Maybe I will try the treatment but need to look at the results and cost first. Nonetheless we accept this as part of life which is not straight like a highway but a journey with nukes and turns,” said the psychology diploma holder from Langara College in Vancouver, Canada.

She also received the full support and motivation of her parents, Hares Lisot, 60, and Junaidah Bujang, 55, as well as her siblings who were happy to start a new life after returning to Malaysia from Canada.

In goalball competition, three blind or partially blind players will try to score by throwing the ball into the opponents’ goal and the ball will emit a sound when moving to enable the players to identify the position of the ball to defend the goal.

INDONESIA 109 64 41 214
MALAYSIA 84 79 69 232
THAILAND 60 59 72 191
VIETNAM 39 59 55 153
PHILIPPINES 19 20 26 65
MYANMAR 11 15 15 41
SINGAPORE 8 17 21 46
BRUNEI 2 6 6 14
CAMBODIA 0 5 5 10
LAOS 0 3 4 7

– Bernama

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