Today, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli is a name that no longer needs an introduction. He has made himself every Malaysian's superhero with his record-breaking exploit at the Rio Paralympic Games last night.
His life before the Paralympic triumph that propelled him to the top of the world, however, was very different when he worked as a humble hawker, selling kuey teow in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman
While Ziyad's Gold medal at the Rio Paralympic Games has prompted the Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali to announce that he will be discussing how the state can recognise and celebrate Ziyad's achievements, who is from Selangor and resides in Gombak, his life as a kuey teow seller had no such announcements.
Before Ziyad joined the National Sports Council, he was selling kuey teow, his father, Zolkefli Othman, told Bernama earlier today.
Ziyad, who dedicated his Gold to the family and the country, had promised his father, on 1 September, while leaving for Rio, that he would bring back a Gold medal.
Muhammad Ziyad, in his 62-year-old father's words, "does not like to trouble people, he is very independent and is a very good cook"
"Ziyad did not give up easily and was always working hard ever since he was in school. Ziyad is not afraid of hard work for when he was in Sekolah Menengah Teknik Tanah Merah in Kelantan, he built houses during his school holidays," said Othman.nst.com.my
Taught to read by an Indian teacher, Muhammad Ziyad's sporting talent was spotted and assisted by a Chinese teacher in Kelantan
And until today, the Chinese teacher still follows his development, his father said.
"This is what sports is all about. There is no race or religion. Hard work pays off. I wish to thank all the people and kind hearts who supported him and prayed for his success. All his hard work and sacrifices have been rewarded," he told Bernama.