By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Aug 4: Five Sarawakian Paralympic athletes including two with previous experience are in a competitive spirit to do their best for Malaysia at the coming 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
The 2020 Paralympics will take place from Aug 24 to Sept 5 this year, after being postponed for a year due to the spread of Covid-19.
The squad includes two two-time Paralympians – swimmer Jamery Siga and powerlifter Jong Yee Khie, who will be joined by three first-time team members comprising powerlifter Bonnie Bunyau Guntin, swimmer Muhammad Nur Syaiful Zulkafli and archer Wiro Juli.
Today, they received the blessings and best wishes from Sarawak as Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg prayed for their success while advising them to do their best and just enjoy the games.
Here are the five Sarawakian Paralympians to keep an eye out for:
Star powerlifter Bonnie is no stranger to the national team especially after setting a new world record in the men’s 72kg category with a lift of 230kg at the 11th Fazza Dubai 2021 Para Powerlifting World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in June this year.
He will be competing in the under 72-kg category at Tokyo.
The 22-year-old from Taee, Serian also clinched the gold medal for Malaysia at the 2021 World Para Powerlifting World Cup in Bangkok in May this year. Bonnie, who is of short stature for a weight lifter, is also the gold medallist at the 2019 World Para Powerlifting Championship.
With his outstanding performance, Bonnie is ranked the number one paralifter in his category and a potential candidate to clinch the gold medal at Tokyo.
The 31-year-old powerlifter Jong is the silver medallist for the men’s above 107kg category at the 11th Fazza Dubai 2021 Para Powerlifting World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in June this year.
The hairstylist from Batu Kawa, Kuching, who had his leg amputated after being involved in a motorcycle accident in 2005, will be competing in the under 107kg category at Tokyo.
His previous achievements include winning the silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, gold medals at the 2015 and 2016 Asean Para Games respectively as well as a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Swimmer Nur Syaiful has claimed one bronze medal at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championship and a gold medal at the 2018 Asia Para Games.
The 26-year-old, who is wheelchair-bound after losing the use of his legs following a motorcycle accident eight years ago, is aiming for a medal in Tokyo as he will be competing in the 50m freestyle,100m freestyle, 200m freestyle and 100m breaststroke categories.
Another notable swimmer Jamery, who has mobility limitations on his right leg and left hand due to suffering from cerebral palsy since he was six-years-old, is a bronze and gold medallist at the 2018 and 2017 Asia Para Games respectively.
The 36-year-old from Limbang will be competing in the 50m butterfly category.
He took up swimming competitively in 2003 before he was picked to represent Malaysia in 2009.
Archer Wiro, a newcomer to the national para archery compound team, had secured a ticket to Paralympic after a stunning campaign in the Asian Para Archery Championships in Bangkok in 2019.
The 27-year-old from Padawan, Serian with mobility restrictions to his legs, will be competing in the individual category.
Wiro’s previous achievements include winning a gold, a silver and a bronze medal at the Asia Para Archery Championship 2019.
Coach Jamil Adam, who is a three-time Paralympian and has coached the Sarawak powerlifting team will accompany them to Tokyo.
Sarawak will be cheering for these five athletes in the Paralympics who have risen to the occasion and made the most of the opportunities given to them, and deserve high praise and higher respect for their resilience and unwavering commitment to see their Paralympic dreams though under challenging circumstances. — DayakDaily