TOKYO, Aug 24 — National para shot put champion, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli has a special mission to accomplish for his beloved nation this time at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Besides defending his victory at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Muhammad Ziyad who will be taking part in the shot put T20 (learning disabilities) event, stated his desire against wasting the opportunity of being in action at the Olympic Stadium on Aug 31.
He said his third appearance at the Paralympic Games would be more meaningful if he could add to his gold medal collection for the nation on the historic date, coincidentally, is the 64th Malaysia National Day.
“I will try as best as possible at the Tokyo Paralympics and I will indeed feel very proud if I can win a gold medal on Augt 31,” he told Bernama.
The 31-year-old athlete created a sensation at Rio 2016 when he notched a new world and paralympic record with a throw of 16.84 metres (m) to reap the gold medal, simultaneously erasing the record of the Australian athlete, Todd Hodgetts.
Not to rest on his laurels, he continued to dominate in the event when he renewed the record he achieved previously with a throw of 17.29 metres at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championship in London.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Ziyad said his preparation was proceeding smoothly currently despite being forced to undergo training under the bubble concept since last year following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Muhammad Ziyad is not alone in the campaign in Tokyo as he is joined by two Rio 2016 gold medallists, Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi in the 100m T36 (celebral palsy) event and Abdul Latif Romly in the long jump T20 (learning disabilities).
Not just that, two more athletes joining Malaysia’s challenge in para athletics are Siti Nooriasah Mohamad Ariffin in the 400m women’ s T20 (learning disabilities) event and Wong Kar Gee for the long jump T13 (visual impairment).
For the edition this time, the 22 athletes in the Malaysian contingent will rise to the challenge of flying the Jalur Gemilang by taking part in nine types of sports at the prestigious festival in Japan.
The Tokyo Paralympic Games, to be officially opened tonight, will end on Sept 5.
Below is a profile of Muhammad Ziyad:
Full name: Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli
Age: 31 years
Date of birth: March 15, 1990
Place of birth: Kuantan, Pahang
Hobby: Viewing films
Best achievements: 2016 Rio Paralympic Games gold, 2012 London Paralympic Games bronze, 2013 and 2017 world champion, 2018 Para Asian Games gold.