TOKYO, Aug 29 — After four days of waiting, the national anthem Negaraku was finally heard here when national powerlifting ace Bonnie Bunyau Gustin won Malaysia’s first-ever gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Bonnie was clearly in a class of his own as the Paralympic debutant also broke the Games record at the Tokyo International Forum here.
The dwarf-sized 22-year-old lifted 228 kilograms (kg) in his third attempt to shatter the previous mark of 227kg set by Rasool Mohsin of Iraq in Rio 2016.
Bonnie, however, could not better his own world record of 230kg that he had set at the 11th Fazza Dubai Powerlifting World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last June when he failed to lift 231kg in his fourth attempt.
When met by reporters, Bonnie said he was dedicating the gold medal to his father, Gusting Jenang, and coach Jamil Adam, who played a role in shaping his career as an athlete.
Chef de mission Datuk Seri Megat D Shahriman Zaharudin believes that Bonnie’s amazing achievement could inspire the other athletes to try and realize the three-gold target set for them.
Malaysia’s sole representative in boccia, Chew Wei Lun, meanwhile, got his Group B qualifying campaign in the men’s individual BC1 (physical impairment) category off to a winning start when he beat Brazilian Andreza Vitoria de Oliveira 5-2 at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre.
The national men’s cycling team competing in the mixed C1-5 (physical impairment) 750m team sprint event today missed out on the final by just one spot after finishing fifth in the race.
However, the trio of Zuhairie Ahmad Tarmizi, Muhammad Hafiz Jamali, and Mohamad Yusof Hafizi Shahruddin did well when they improved on their personal best by clocking 50.532 seconds (s) to erase their previous mark of 51.827s set at Milton, Canada last year.
That will serve as a motivation for them to do better when they compete in the road race to be held on the Fuji International Speedway from Aug 31-Sept 4.
Meanwhile, national men’s compound archer Wiro Julin’s Paralympic campaign ended when he fell in the 1/16 elimination round today.
Wiro, who is also making his Paralympic debut, lost 126-136 to Russian Olympic Council’s Bair Shigaev.
Over at the Ariake Tennis Park, national wheelchair tennis ace Abu Samah Borhan was shown the exit after going down 0-6, 1-6 to world number eight Tom Egberink of the Netherlands in the second round in just 46 minutes.