KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — National paralympian Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli created history by beating able-bodied athletes to win the gold medal in the shot put event at the Thailand Track and Field Open Championships at Thammasat University Sports Complex in Bangkok today.
Muhammad Ziyad threw 17.07m in his fifth attempt, overcoming two top competitors from the host nation whose distances were 16.80m and 16.53m, which were only good enough for silver and bronze.
The Rio Paralympics gold medallist’s first throw was 16.67m followed by 17.00m (second), 15.83m (third) and 16.07m (fourth).
Compatriot Adi Aliffuddin Hussin who won bronze at the 2015 Singapore SEA Games in the event only managed fourth place after throwing a best distance of 15.96m in his fourth attempt.
For the record, the distance achieved by Muhammad Ziyad today bettered the 17.05m achieved by the 2015 SEA Games silver medallist, Chatchawal Polyiam of Thailand.
Open championships do not differentiate between able-bodied and disabled athletes. Disabled athletes usually compete in the Para Games.
“Alhamdulillah (Thank God), I could bring glory for Malaysia once again at the Thailand Open. I am at a loss for words that I could achieve 17.07m in my fifth attempt. I am eternally grateful,” Muhammad Ziyad said in his Instagram account.
Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said he wanted to see Muammad Ziyad and fellow paralympian Abdul Latiff Romly (long jump) win medals at the 29th SEA Games which Kuala Lumpur will be hosting in August (The SEA Games is for normal athletes).
“My challenge to Ziyad and Latiff is for them to win medals because they have been listed as competitors in the SEA Games against able-bodied athletes.
“My hope for Ziyad and Latiff this year is for them to win medals at the SEA Games because the ASEAN Para Games will be a shoo in for the duo.” he told the media after a TN50 Dialogue session here.
More than 1,000 people comprising national athletes, former national athletes, sports enthusiasts and sports fans participated in the dialogue. — Bernama