Meet The Men Who Coached Our Extraordinary Paralympians
Mohd Syahrul Amri Suhaimi who coached Abdul Latif Romly
In Abdul Latif Romly's golden exploit in the Men's Long Jump T20 Final at the Rio Paralympic Games last week, his coach has played a huge role.
The 19-year-old, who is now being called "the flying superhuman" owes much of his success to Mohd Syahrul Amri Suhaimi, the national Paralympic Long Jump coach under whose watch Romly became what he is today; a Paralympic world record holder.
Speaking to Utusan Malaysia following Latif's win at the recent SUKMA 2016 in Kuching, Mohd Syahrul Amri Suhaimi admitted that training him was not easy.
It's because, while physically, Latif is like most other athletes, it's his mental state that robs him off of his ability to keep focus, an extremely important factor for any athlete.
"Abdul Latif is an athlete who belongs to intellectual disabilities. As his coach, I admit, it's not easy to train him, as he is still immature. So the challenge with training Abdul Latif is making sure to give him more than 100% of my concentration," the coach said.
Muhamad Faizol Harun who coached Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli
Ziyad's incredible performance that smashed the world record TWICE and won him the Gold in the Men's Shot Put F20 Final (Intellectual Disability) at the Rio Paralympic Games, was honed by Muhamad Faizol Harun at the Paralympic Club Kuala Lumpur.
A slow learner, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli had difficulties living away from his family.
However, under the guidance of his coach, the Shot Putter achieved a feat so remarkable that it resulted in the 'Negaraku' being played a second time inside the Rio Olympic Stadium and that too within a couple of hours.
Affizam Amdan who coached Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi
Ridzuan Puzi, the speedster who gave Malaysia it's first ever Paralympic Gold, was talent-spotted by coach Affizam Amdan back in 2006.
And since then, acting as his personal coach, Affizam has been guiding, grooming and training him and still gives advice to Ridzuan every now and then.
Such huge is Affizam's contribution in Ridzuan's life, that Ridzuan's father, Mohd Puzi Mat Isa, while speaking with astro AWANI, said, "I would like to thank everyone that has helped him, especially Am (Affizam Amdan), a voluntary coach, who first spotted my son’s potential and guided him since 2006 and he is still giving advice until today."
Sadly, we couldn't find any picture of Affizam on the Internet.
Above all these men, though, is R. Jeganathan, fondly called Jega
The Malaysian Paralympics Head Coach, who with his unparalleled experience in athletics, has been a constant pillar of support for Ridzuan Puzi.
The fact that Jega was there when Ridzuan made his official bow at the ASEAN Para Games in 2011, and again at the Sainsbury Anniversary Games in 2013 where Ridzuan finished 5th, and finally at Rio this year, where he played the role of a father, hugging and consoling an overwhelmed Ridzuan, shows the level of his care for his athletes.
Ridzuan was nervous before the start of the final and had to be comforted by Jega.
The National Paralympic head coach then told him to "Just start sprinting and do not look right or left until you have crossed the line". And those words from his coach pushed Ridzuan past the finish line faster than his opponents.
Although Jega always treats him like his son, he is strict during training, often pushing Ridzuan to the edge. At times, even going so far as to scold him if he didn't perform.
While we are on the topic, let's not forget these fellow Malaysians who have brought honour to the nation in the past Paralympics: