Three cheers for Malaysia on penultimate day of Tokyo Paralympics
TOKYO,. The wait is over, finally! And Malaysians can now heave a huge sigh of relief after the national contingent met the three-gold target at the Tokyo Paralympics today.
It was a long wait though, right until this evening before Abdul Latif Romly contributed gold number three in the men’s long jump T20 (intellectual impairment) category at the Olympic Stadium here.
And he surely didn’t wait long to confirm his second gold after the 2016 Rio edition when he leapt 7.26 metres (m) before jumping ever further – 7.45m – in his second attempt to leave his rivals trailing in his wake.
However, the Perlis-born athlete could not complete his sixth and final attempt due to a leg injury he sustained right after his 5.56m fifth attempt.
The injury was so bad that he had to leave the field in a wheelchair accompanied by medical personnel for further treatment. Thankfully, the gold was already in the bag for Malaysia by then.
Greece’s Athanasios Prodromou (7.17m) took silver while Australian Nicholas Hum (7.12m) settled for bronze.
Earlier, six-time world champion Cheah Liek Hou created history at the Yoyogi National Stadium when he became the first shuttler to win gold in the men’s singles SU5 (physical impairment) category following badminton’s debut in the Tokyo Olympics.
The world number two defeated his nemesis and top seed Anrimusthi Dheva of Indonesia 21-17, 21-15 in the final today for Malaysia’s second gold medal.
The 33-year-old Liek Hou, however, faced an anxious moment in the semi-finals when he lost the first game 15-21 to Taiwan’s Fang Jen-Yu before staging a remarkable fightback to win the next two 21-10, 21-16 and set up the gold medal showdown.
Malaysia had won the first gold medal through powerlifter Bonnie Bunyau Gustin in the men’s 72kg event on Aug 28 while Jong Yee Khie (powerlifting) and Chew Wei Lun (boccia) chipped in with a silver each.
Meanwhile, the slippery surface of the track due to a drizzle at the Olympic Stadium since early this morning put paid to Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi’s dream of defending his gold won at Rio 2016.
Competing in the men’s 100m T36 (physical impairment) final, Mohamad Ridzuan, who ran well in the first 50m, admitted that the slippery track conditions caused him to almost fall in the last 10m of the race before he ended up fourth in 12.15 seconds (s).
Deng Peicheng of China pulled off a surprise when he not only won the gold but also clocked 11.85s to break the previous Paralympic mark of 11.87s set by Australia’s James Turner in the second qualifying heat yesterday.
James had to settle for silver in 12.00s while Argentina’s Alexis Sebastian Chavez (12.02s) took bronze.
Meanwhile, injury forced another national athlete, Wong Kar Gee, to withdraw on the fourth jump of the men’s long jump T13 (vision impairment) event in his Paralympic debut.
Azerbaijan’s Orkhan Aslanov (7.36m) took gold, followed by Spain’s Ivan Jose Cano Blanco (7.04m) and American Isaac Jean-Paul (6.93m).
No Malaysian athlete will be in action when the Games end Sunday (Sept 5).