KULAI – The family of National Paralympian Siti Noor Iasah Mohamad Ariffin who lost the women’s T20 (intellectual disability) 400m bronze medal at the Rio Paralympics yesterday will always cherish her performance and achievement in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“We are not disappointed by the near miss. We are all proud of you. Winning and losing is decided by the GOD almighty. You will remain our hero. We are not disappointed because she had given her best.
“Her dream was to win and take us (parents), her husband, children and her siblings to perform the Umrah. We will continue to pray for her success. We are hoping she can win the long jump event tomorrow,” said Siti Noor’s mother Zatipah Omar, 55 when met by Bernama at her residence in Kampung Melayu Seelong, here today.
Siti Noor’s brother Mohamad Din Hallafiz, 24, said he was proud of his sister’s performance and achievements thus far because she was once labelled as ‘forest people’ because the family was living in a jungle.
“She was always belittled by people in the area. Since we stayed in the jungle, they called us jungle people but my mother always told Siti Noor or Ah Cik as she is known at home, to remain calm and show what she is capable of in sports.
“Today, though she did not win a medal, her performance has shattered all the negative perception of the people because she qualified for the final and finished in fourth place,” he said.
Her father Mohamad Ariffin Khalid, 62, said Siti Noor, the fifth of his nine children, had started her involvement since she was 13.
“Though she was weak in her studies, she excelled in sports activities and represented Johor in several international competitions. When the teacher spotted her talent, he recommended her to the National Sports Council centre in Kulai to undergo training,” he said.
Mohamad Ariffin said since coming under the wings of the National Sports Council, Siti Noor had gone on to represent the country in the 2008 ASEAN Para Games in Thailand, 2009 ASEAN Para Games in Kuala Lumpur, 2015 ASEAN Para Games in Singapore and International Paralympic Council (IPC) World Championships in Doha last year.
“Siti Noor had taken a break from training and competition after suffering an injury and decided to get married and have a child. Her husband Muhammad Hafiz Abu Bakar is also a former athlete and winner of gold medals in competitions, acts as her coach on a part-time basis,” he said.
Yesterday, Siti Noor who was pipped at the finish line by an athlete from Poland, to snatch the bronze medal, clocked 58.55 seconds to renew her own Asian Para Games record of 58.96s. – BERNAMA