By Ashley Sim
KUCHING, May 25: Sarawak has been the Para Sukma (paralympic) sports champion 13 times in a row since 1994, says Women, Early Childhood, and Community Wellbeing Development (KPWK) Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.
According to Fatimah, it is a difficult legacy to achieve, but she is confident that the OKU (people with disabilities) athletes and OKU sports team officers will defend this championship to ensure that it remains firmly in Sarawak’s grasp.
“Our Sarawak champions, such as Bonnie Bunyau Gustin and Jong Yee Khie, took eight to 12 years to win medals at the pinnacle of OKU sports, the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
“Congratulations to those two and other athletes who have achieved international success.
“All of our athletes can learn from them and strive for similar success,” she said tonight at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) during the ‘Majlis Ramah Tamah Raya Gawai 2022’ with the OKU athletes (Sarawak OKU Sports Powerhouse of Malaysia).
She went on to say that Sarawak’s young athletes have already demonstrated their international abilities, with four Sarawak youth OKU athletes representing Malaysia at the Asian Youth Para Games in Bahrain in December 2021.
Fatimah added that Gloria Gracia Wong and Nur Rohadatul Syuhada returned home with a gold medal, a silver medal, and a bronze medal.
“So far, our youth athletes have competed in these competitions in Hong Kong in 2003, Tokyo in 2009, Kuala Lumpur in 2013 and Dubai in 2017.
“Sarawak youth athletes have won medals in all of these competitions, and those from the first competition series, such as Jamery Siga, Julius Jaranding, and Bonnie Bunyau, are still active and have represented Malaysia at the international level, as well as many other athletes at the national level,” she stated.
Fatimah, who is also Dalat assemblywoman, mentioned that the exposure of young athletes and the participation of senior athletes in international competitions has brought much renown to Malaysia and Sarawak.
“Sarawak became the champion in Malaysia because there was continuity in the efforts to dig out the talents of Sarawak athletes who were managed by the coaches and officers of the OKU sports team.
“Thank you and we hope this practice will continue so that Sarawak will always be in an excellent position in OKU sports.” — DayakDaily