SEPANG – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today recognised paralympians as icons for Malaysians due to their remarkable achievements.
Despite the disabilities, the paralympians who did the nation proud, demonstrated high spirit and strong determination to suceed on the world stage.
“The paralympians show that we can record remarkable achievements if we have a strong determination. Hearing the Negaraku being played, gave me goosebumps,” he said at a grand welcome for the Malaysian Paralympic contingent at Bunga Raya Complex, KL International Airport (KLIA), here today.
Najib said the success story of the paralympians in Rio de Janeiro could be used as a powerful stimulus for Malaysians to work hard to achieve success.
Some 1,000 supporters were present to welcome the 38 athletes and coaches led by Dr Ang Kean Koo, the chef de mission of the Malaysian contingent to the 2016 Paralympic Games.
During the ceremony, Najib announced additional incentive of RM100,000 for bronze medalist Siti Noor Radiah Ismail, bringing her reward to RM200,000.
The coaches will also receive rewards for being the ‘unsung heroes.’
He said the government appreciated the contribution of the paralympians by rewarding them with similar pension as the Olympians.
“Malaysia put the paralympic athletes on the same level as the Olympic athletes. This is unlike some countries.”
The paralympians made history by winning three gold medals and one bronze in athletics, thus ending the Paralympic Games in 36th place.
The first gold medal was won by Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi who ran the race of his life to win the T36 100m sprint.
Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli did better in the F20 shot put when he won the gold medal and set a new world record with a throw of 16.84 metres.
Abdul Latif Romly was not to be out done when he leapt to a new world record of 7.60 metres in the T20 long jump for the third gold medal.
Siti Noor Radiah Ismail won the bronze medal in the T20 long jump when she leapt to 20.05 metres to renew the Asian Para Games record.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports had announced that paralympians who won the gold medals will each receive RM1 million and monthly pension of RM5,000.
The silver medalist will receive RM300,000 and monthly pension of RM3,000 while the bronze medalist will receive RM100,000 and pension of RM2,000.
Also at the ceremony were the prime Minister’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim, Malaysian Paralympic Council patron, Tun Jeanne Abdullah and her husband, former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. – BERNAMA