5 Malaysian Paralympian Heroes That Nobody Talks About Today

Thank you, for all that you've done for Malaysia!

Cover image via Getty Images/CRI/SAYS

Malaysians were over the moon recently when three Paralympians made the nation's golden dream come true

From left: Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi, Abdul Latif Romly and Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli.

Image via Vulcan Post

Malaysia's hunt for gold at the Paralympic Games finally ended when Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi, Abdul Latif Romly and Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli each delivered the coveted medal over the weekend at Rio De Janiero.

We're extremely grateful for all the sacrifices they have made to put our beloved country on the podium.

Along with the trio, these are fellow Malaysians who have brought honour to the nation in the past Paralympic Games:

1. Mariappan Perumal

Image via Getty Images

Malaysia made its debut at the Paralympic Games during the 1972 Heidelberg Games but did not send any representative for the next three series.

After 16 years of absence, Malaysia was on the podium for the first time when Mariappan Perumal won the bronze in powerlifting at the 1988 Seoul Games. He went on to compete in a total of seven Paralympic Games and won another bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

2. Cheok Kon Fatt

Cheok Kon Fatt is one of the three para-athletes who delivered a medal in the Malaysian contingent during the 1992 Barcelona Games.

With hard work and perseverance, he earned the nation's first ever silver medal, as he emerged as the runner-up for the powerlifting event.

3. Mohamad Khasseri Othman

Khasseri won the bronze medal for athletics (high jump) alongside a Japanese athlete during the 1992 Barcelona Games as they both finished the competition at the same jump height.

The bronze contributed to the Malaysian contingent's medal tally with a total of one silver and two bronze. The 1992 Barcelona Games was considered as Malaysia's most successful campaign in the history of Paralympics Games until last weekend when Ridzuan, Abdul Latif and Ziyad all clinched a gold medal each.

4. Siow Lee Chan

Image via CRI

During the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, Siow Lee Chan ended Malaysia's 16-year medal drought for the country by bagging the bronze for the Powerlifting Women Under 56kg category.

Her achievement also meant that she emerged as the first Malaysian woman to bring home a medal in the Paralympic Games.

5. Hasihin Sanawi

Image via Twitter

Hasihin was paralysed in 2005 when he fell while attempting to fix a roof. Following the tragic accident, he became wheelchair-bound and took up archery in 2010.

During the 2012 London Paralympics, the then 29-year-old nearly clinched the nation's first ever gold medal in the men’s individual recurve W1/W2 (wheelchair). He won the silver medal, claiming Malaysia's first Paralympic medal in archery.

Hasihin is also part of the Malaysian contingent for the 2016 Rio Paralympics but suffered a shocking first-round exit in the men’s Open recurve elimination rounds yesterday, 13 September. He couldn’t hold back his tears as he felt like he let down those who had supported him.

"I want to apologise to all Malaysians, my family, my wife and all those who have supported me. I had tried my best but this was all I could manage,” he was quoted as saying.

Many of these para-athletes have dedicated their lives to creating a good name for Malaysia, yet at the end of the day, some felt like they were "used"

Image via Malay Mail

Malay Mail disclosed a heartbreaking story of two-time Paralympic Games bronze medallist Mariappan who is now staying in a place where "walkways are wet, dimly lit and reek of urine" while he struggles to make a living.

In the exclusive interview, Mariappan said that he longed to return back to his glory days, when he was on the podium, as the national anthem played in the background with the flag flying high behind him.

"I feel used. I was discarded after having served the country for so long," he was quoted as saying.

"I’ve accomplished a lot for Malaysia. An athlete’s time is limited. As soon as you retire, you are forgotten. I hope that won’t be the case for me and our three new heroes,” he said, referring to the trio who just won the gold medals for Malaysia.

However, it looks like things will take a positive turn as the National Sports Council (NSC) have finally stepped up to make a happy announcement yesterday, 13 September.

All Malaysian Paralympic medal winners, past and present, will receive a monthly pension from next month.

NSC Director-General Ahmad Shapawi Ismail

Image via Kuala Lumpur Post

NSC Director-General Ahmad Shapawi Ismail added that the monthly pension amount given to successful Paralympians would be equal to that promised to medalists in the main Olympic Games.

Under the scheme, gold medalists receive a life-long pension of RM5,000 per month, silver medalists will get RM3,000 per month while bronze winners will receive RM2,000 per month.

According to the NSC conditions for the monthly pensions for both Olympic and Paralympic medalists, there is only one monthly pension payment for the highest medal achieved, and not a cumulative amount if the athlete had won more than one medal in one or more Games.

Thank you for giving us something to celebrate, Team Malaysia!

Image via Astro Arena

Many of our Paralympians have come so far in life from their humble beginnings:

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