October 25, 2023
PETALING JAYA – The evergreen shot putter Ziyad Zolkefli and long jumper Abdul Latif Romly delivered an unprecedented third consecutive gold medal for Malaysia at the Asian Para Games in Hangzhou.
Ziyad, who started his golden run at the 2014 Incheon Games, retained his gold in the F20 (intellectual disability), which was formerly known as T20, after hurling a distance of 16.65m at the Huanglong Sports Centre Stadium on Tuesday (Oct 24).
The magnitude of the effort left compatriot Mohd Aliff Awi way behind for his silver at 13.75m while Thailand’s Sanepoot Boonkong took bronze with 13.67m.
Ziyad had also secured gold at the Asian Para Games in Jakarta-Palembang to continue dominating the event like his fellow comrade Latif.
Perlis-born Latif secured the long jump gold (T20) with a leap of 7.18m while another Malaysian, Zulkifly Abdullah, secured bronze with 6.48m. Silver went to Hassan Nasser Dawshi of Saudi Arabia (6.80m).
Meanwhile, the 33-year-old Ziyad will be boosted by his success in Hangzhou to focus on regaining the shot put gold at the Paris Paralympics in 2024.
“I am also proud to have completed a hat-trick of wins at the Asian Para Games,” said Ziyad.
Despite a stellar career where he is a two-time world champion (2013 and 2017) and a four-time Asean Para Games champion (2014, 2015, 2017, 2022), Ziyad has a score to settle at the Paralympics.
Ziyad had registered a winning throw in the Tokyo Paralympics but he was disqualified following a protest from Ukraine that he had reported late to the call room.
The protest was upheld and his golden dreams were shattered but Ziyad is expected to launch an assault to claim his second Paralympics in Paris.
Besides the triple Asian Para success, Latif is also the undisputed king of T20 long jump as he has won at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro and at the Tokyo Games in 2021.
Another hat-trick awaits Latif at the Paris Paralympics and going by his current form, few will bet on Latif to defend his crown next year.
Meanwhile, Eddy Bernard added another silver for Malaysia in athletics after finishing second in the men’s T44 100 final.
Eddy registered 11.86s behind Maththaka Gam of Sri Lanka (11.63s) while Asana Nour Moh of Saudi Arabia was third (12.07s).