SEPANG: Malaysia’s Paralympic athletes received a rousing heroes’ welcome home when they touched down at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on Thursday.
By 2pm, hundreds of people had gathered at KLIA’s Kompleks Bunga Raya, two hours ahead of the athletes’ arrival at around 4pm.
The athletes met up with their families outside the complex, where they exchanged hugs and took pictures with loved ones.
Upon walking through the doors, the athletes were greeted with loud cheers from the crowd.
The entire contingent, including coaches, were presented with garlands by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and stood on stage together to sing the NegaraKu.
Also present at the welcome home ceremony organised by the Youth and Sports Ministry was Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his wife Tun Jeanne Abdullah, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
The athletes will leave Kompleks Bunga Raya for Jalan Tun Razak at 5.30pm, where they will be part of a celebratory parade around Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia won three golds and a bronze medal at the Rio Paralympics.
Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli and Abdul Latif Romly made history when they won a gold medal each at this year’s Paralympics, the first time Malaysia has won gold at the games.
Shot putter Muhammad Ziyad, 26, broke the world record twice in the shot put F20 event (learning disabilities).
His fifth throw hit a distance of 16.84m, surpassing his earlier world record of 16.40m.
Long jumper Abdul Latif, 19, meanwhile, broke the world record three times in the men’s T20 (learning disability) long jump final.
Abdul Latif cleared 7.47m, 7.54m and finally 7.60m in his final jump.
Another gold was contributed by Mohamad Ridzuan, 29, who clocked 12.07s in the T36 100m sprint (cerebral palsy).
The bronze was won by Siti Noor Radiah Ismail in the women’s T20 Long Jump (intellectual disability) event with a 5.20m leap, becoming the first Malaysian female Paralympic medal winner.-The Star Online