KUALA LUMPUR: A former Batu Road kuey-teow hawker, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli Othman is on top of the world with a new world record and a gold medal for the shot put at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
His father, Zolkefli Othman who was equally elated, said Ziyad had promised to dedicate his gold medal in the shot put event to the family and the country.
Zolkefli regards the gold medal as Ziyad’s present to mark Zolkefli’s 62nd birthday on Sept 1, the day he sent his son to Kuala Lumpur International Airport to join the Malaysian Paralympic contingent.
“When I sent Ziyad to KLIA on Sept 1, which was on my birthday, he promised to bring back a gold medal. We are very happy for him,” Zolkefli told Bernama.
Muhammad Ziyad, 26, created a new world record in the men’s shot put F20 (intellectual disability) event with a throw of 16.84m in his fifth attempt on Saturday.
His fellow Paralympic athlete, Mohamad Ridzuan Mohd Puzi, had clinched Malaysia’s first Paralympic gold medal in the men’s 100m T36 (cerebral palsy) dash.
Zolkefli said parents with children like Muhammad Ziyad should always engage their children as they have extraordinary abilities.
“Ziyad does not like to trouble people, he is very independent and is a very good cook. Before he joined the National Sports Council, Ziyad was selling kuey-teow in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman (Batu Road).
“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 Zolkefli.
Ziyad, the eldest of Zolkefli’s four children, was involved in sports when he was in the primary and secondary school, he said.
“I still remember when my son was taught to read when he was in Year Five by an Indian teacher until he got number three in the class. Ziyad is surrounded by people who love him, his sporting talent was spotted and assisted by a Chinese teacher in Kelantan. Until today, the teacher still follows his development.
“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 said.