As social media broke into applause for Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi and Muhamad Ziyad Zolkefli, we are reminded yet again of the uniting power of sports.
Sports can become a rallying cry, a common point for all citizens to focus upon to express their pride and admiration for those among us willing to dedicate those lonely mornings running the beaten path, far away from the grand stage and the limelight.
Ziyad, in particular, holds the distinction of having his name etched as the world record holder in the shot putt category. It’s an accomplishment he will always be able to hold on to with pride. The outburst of triumphant victory that overcame him as he won his medal is a moment worthy of being shared and spread all over the country.
You’d have to have a heart of stone to have not been moved by that young man who had overcome his disability to achieve his lifelong dream.
The celebration that has come with the accomplishments of these two athletes has been nothing short of awe-inspiring and beautiful.
The past decade or so has been too full of bad news about strife between the usually harmonious races that make up our colourful society, but with this victory, Malaysia’s roar of joy is unmistakeable in its unity.
As we prepare to face a possible election year, it is ever more important that we hold on to this feeling. This pride in our country and in the many amazing people who live among us and our appreciation for the many ways we affect one another’s lives are the things that can keep Malaysia from being torn apart by the ugly fight between political interests in the coming electoral campaigning.
Our athletes exemplify the best of us, and we must follow their example. Here is proof beyond proof that we are capable of excellence and greater things, and we can start with holding on to this feeling of pride for our country. Politics has driven too much of that conversation, resulting only in a more fractured Malaysia. We’ve had more than our fair share of it.