APG: Running with one hand, Ashraf hopes to inspire others

03 Aug 2022 12:44pm
National paralympic athlete Muhamad Ashraf Muhammad Haisham - BERNAMA Photo
National paralympic athlete Muhamad Ashraf Muhammad Haisham - BERNAMA Photo
SOLO - Forced to face the challenges of life with one hand after a motorcycle accident in 2013, Muhamad Ashraf Mohamad Haisham became dispirited and for almost a year did not usually go out of the house.

However, nine years since the horrific accident, Muhamad Ashraf, 27, is now a para sports champion having won a silver medal at the 2018 Asian Para Games, in addition to four golds, two silvers and setting one ASEAN Para Games (APG) record so far.

Today, he topped the men's 1,500m event T46 (physical disability) category by clocking 4 minutes and 33.180 seconds at the Manahan Stadium here, while rivals Tran Van of Vietnam (4:34.300s) and King James (4:34.880s) from the Philippines took the silver and bronze respectively.

It was his second medal in Solo, after winning silver in the 5,000m yesterday, in his APG debut in that event.

Forced to face the challenge of losing his left hand, which is his dominant hand, about 10 months before the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination, Muhamad Ashraf's life became very challenging over the next two years.

"At first it was quite difficult, I didn't go to school because I was ashamed to live with one hand as my other friends were normal. I went to rehab, learned to write with my right hand for six months to sit for the SPM.

"When I participated in para sports, (sports for people with disabilities), I could see that there were people worse than me, paralysed, in a wheelchair... From there, I got the confidence to continue living. So I want to say to people with disabilities who lack confidence, try to stand out, maybe there is a hidden talent that is still missing.

"When we go out and socialise with people of the same fate, we get more motivation. I've been through this, so I'm trying to stand out to give encouragement to those who have the same fate," said Muhamad Ashraf, who will defend the gold in the 800m event tomorrow.

In his APG debut at the Singapore edition in 2015, he won the 800m gold with a championship record of 2:03.67s and the silver in the 1,500m, while at the last edition in Kuala Lumpur in 2017, Muhamad Ashraf won the 800m and 1,500m gold and silver in the 400m. - BERNAMA
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