Free flights for life, Tony tells gold medalists

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PETALING JAYA: “More free flights for life coming.”

This was the response of AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes when he got wind that three Malaysians had bagged gold medals at the ongoing Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

At the games, world champion Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi won the first gold medal in the 100m T36 (cerebral palsy) event, setting a Paralympic record, while Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli won gold, setting a new world record in the men’s shot put.

Meanwhile Abdul Latif Romly, 19, bagged the country’s third gold medal after breaking the world record distance of 7.6 metres in the men’s long jump event.

Fernandes had earlier shared a picture of Muhammad Ziyad holding the Jalur Gemilang and one of Mohamad Ridzuan making it to the finishing line on his Instagram account.

“What a night. Watched our two first gold medals in Olympics. Made me super proud,” he wrote.

Upon learning of Latif’s heroics, Fernandes later took to Twitter to congratulate the former.

“You have free flights for life.”

The budget airline had previously announced lifetime free flights for Asean Olympic gold medalists, while those who brought home silver and bronze medals are able to fly for free for five and two years respectively.

Prior to AirAsia announcing the free flights, Naza Corporation boss Nasarudin Nasimuddin, who is president of the Paralympics Council of Malaysia, announced that his company would present a new Kia Sportage to each gold medallist.

DAP has since proposed for special incentives and for Parliament to table a motion to honour the three Malaysian gold medalists at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.