TOKYO, Sept 2 — National sprinter Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi is set to hog the limelight at the Olympic Stadium here on Day 10 of the Tokyo Paralympics Friday (Sept 3) when he begins his quest to defend the gold medal he won at the 2016 Rio edition.
Fondly referred to as ‘Dek Wan’, he will compete in Heat Two of the men’s 100-meter (m) T36 (physical impairment) category at about 8.33 pm local time (7.33 pm Malaysian time).
Although considered a medal prospect, the 33-year-old, who suffers from cerebral palsy, must not take his rivals for granted.
This is because Australian James Turney and China’s Yang Yifei, his two closest challengers, had beaten him in the world meet in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2019.
James set a new world record of 11.72 seconds (s) en route to winning the event in the UAE while Yifei finished second in 11.79s and Mohamad Ridzuan was third in 11.97s.
In Friday’s (Sept 3) heats, Mohamad Ridzuan is set to face Yifei in Heat Two while James will race in Heat One.
The final will be on Saturday (Sept 4) at about 10.38 am local time (9.38 am Malaysian time).
Mohamad Ridzuan created history when he contributed the country’s first gold medal in the Paralympics when he won the men’s 100m T36 event in the 2016 Rio edition by clocking 12.07s to erase the previous mark of 12.25 set by Ukraine’s Roman Pavlyk in Beijing in 2008.
Meanwhile, Friday (Sept 3) will also see Malaysia’s other medal hopeful, 2019 world champion S. Suresh taking on Bato Tsydendorzhiev of the Russian Paralympic Committee in the 1/16 elimination round of the men’s recurve archery event at the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field.
Day Nine of the Tokyo Games today saw Malaysian men’s singles shuttler Cheah Liek Hou confirming his semi-final spot in the SU5 (physical impairment) category after recording his second straight Group B win when he defeated Taiwan’s Jen Yu Fang 21-13, 21-9 at the Yoyogi National Stadium.
His teammate, Didin Taresoh, who also played two matches in the men’s singles SH6 (physical impairment) category, had to retire with a knee injury in the second game of his Group B tie against Brazil’s Vitor Gonzales Tavares.
After losing the first game 13-21, Paralympic debutant Didin injured his knee in the second game while trailing 13-18.
“His sprained his right knee… it’s actually an old injury. Two back-to-back matches in one day proved too much for Didin. We will continue follow-up treatment for him at the contingent’s clinic tonight,” said Malaysian contingent medical chief officer Dr. Azril Syazwan Mohd Ali.
Earlier, the dwarf-sized Sabah shuttler had lost his opening Group B tie to India’s Krishna Nagar 20-22, 10-21 in the afternoon.
Over at the Fuji International Speedway in Shizuoka, about 109 kilometers (km) from here, heavy rain dashed national cyclist Mohamad Yusof Hafizi Shaharuddin’s hopes of putting up a good fight in the men’s road race C1-3 (physical impairment) category today.
The 23-year-old Paralympic debutant finished the 79.2km race in the 33rd spot out of 39 riders to end his Tokyo mission empty-handed.