The Day 'Negaraku' Played At The Paralympics For The First Time In History

And not once, but twice on the same day. Here's a look at that historical day five years ago.

Cover image via Khairy/Twitter (edited)

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It was Sunday. And while Malaysians in the country were likely sleeping, two very special Malaysians had something else planned.

The two Malaysians — Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi and Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli who would go on to become two of the greatest of para-athletes the country has ever produced — intended to give the country what it never had until that day.

But that Sunday was going to be a different one. It was going to be a historic day.

Because on that Sunday, 11 September 2016, Mohamad Puzi and Ziyad Zolkelfli were going to give Malaysia a reason to not just cheer but to stand up, put their right hand on their chest swelling with pride and sing as the Jalur Gemilang would be unfurled not once but twice at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

They gave Malaysia its first-ever gold medals at the Paralympics and in turn, gave us the chance to hear the 'Negaraku' being played twice at the Paralympics on the same day.

The Jalur Gemilang being hoisted at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Image via MakeAGif

How did it come to be?

It happened in the space of a few hours, with two of Malaysia's para-athletes giving their best performance and breaking the country's quest for Paralympic gold.

The first-ever gold came thanks to Mohamad Ridzuan Puzi after he set a new Paralympic record on his way to winning the T36 (Cerebral Palsy) 100m final.

Ridzuan Puzi, who is nicknamed 'Mr Dash' for his speed, crossed the finish line just in 12.07s, ahead of China's Yang Yifei and Brazillian Rodrigo Parreira da Silva.

Puzi became the first-ever Malaysian to stand atop the Olympic podium.

Soon Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli gave Malaysia its second Paralympic gold.

Ziyad Zolkefli recorded 16.84 metres with his fifth and final throw.

In the process, he not only won the Men's F20 Shot Put, but the former bronze medalist from London 2012 also smashed the world record.

An emotional Zolkefli, who before his Paralympic triumph used to work as a hawker, selling kuey teow in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, said:

"I've made a lot of sacrifices. I've been training hard to get here. The result is for my family, my country and for all Malaysians. This is the result of my life."

What followed next could hardly be described in words

As the sounds of 'Negaraku' reverberated inside Rio's Olympic stadium for the first time ever, millions of Malaysians in the country, who were watching the historic moment on their smartphones, instinctively stood up in the middle of their bedrooms.

Overwhelmed with pride, we screamed, we cried, we hugged whoever was beside us and we jumped together in joy, savouring the moment we had been waiting for.

Buat kali ke-2, Negaraku di #Rio2016! Tahniah #ZiyadZolkefli! #EmasUntukNegara#KamiLuarBiasa #Paralympics

Posted by Tune Talk on Saturday, 10 September 2016

It's been five years now, yet it still fills us with joy :')

Image via Giphy

Our coverage, back when it happened:

In 2018, Ridzuan became the first Malaysian para-athlete to win Asia's Male Para Athlete award:

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