Emotional time for visually impaired youth after conquering Mount Kinabalu

02 Sep 2022 05:14pm
A visually impaired climber Ahmad Danial Mohd Sani, 28, when he was at the top of Mount Kinabalu on Aug 21 - Bernama Photo
A visually impaired climber Ahmad Danial Mohd Sani, 28, when he was at the top of Mount Kinabalu on Aug 21 - Bernama Photo
KOTA KINABALU - Ahmad Danial Mohd Sani, 28, who is visually impaired was overcome with emotion when he succeeded in conquering Mount Kinabalu for the first time on National Day (Aug 31).

His feat of reaching the summit of the 4,095-metre mountain proves that people with disabilities can experience life’s beautiful moments just like everyone else.

Ahmad Danial who is studying Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Heritage at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) never thought that he could climb Mount Kinabalu but managed to do so to fly the Jalur Gemilang to mark the National Day celebration this year.

He was one of the 22 participants including six Persons with Disabilities (PwD) of the Kinabalu PwD Challenge 2022 Expedition organised by IIUM Sports Development Centre with the cooperation of the IIUM Disabled Services Unit in conjunction with the university's 40th anniversary.

"I do not have any experience in mountain climbing. Therefore, I was nervous when I started the climb but after reaching the mountain's peak, I just felt so much happiness.

"I was very moved even though we encountered many challenges during the climb," he told Bernama.

"I have never imagined that I would succeed in reaching the top of Mount Kinabalu. It was the most beautiful moment that I will never forget.

"Thank you to my friends who helped me a lot throughout the expedition," said the Selangor native.

Ahmad Danial only received his permit to join this expedition a week before the climb.
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However, he remained enthusiastic to continue the mission and made preparations including undergoing physical training.

The second of five siblings, Ahmad Danial said he was so happy and excited because even though he could not see, he could still appreciate and imagine the beauty of the natural panorama along the climb up Mount Kinabalu based on descriptions shared by friends in the expedition.

"I could hear animal sounds and friends would indicate the presence of squirrels, trees and waterfalls. At the top of the mountain, you can feel the beautiful scenery and cool weather," he said.

Meanwhile, IIUM Economics and Management Science lecturer Associate Prof Dr Mohd Nizam Barom who is also visually impaired said the expedition was an unforgettable experience adding that it was not an ordinary climb as it sought to convey a message of inclusivity towards empowering the disabled in the country.

Meanwhile, IIUM deputy rector (Student Development and Community Engagement) Associate Prof Dr Zulkifli Hasan said the determination and ability displayed by the participants to complete the climb were extraordinary.

Despite the challenges faced, Zulkifli who led the expedition said that there was a strong sense of camaraderie as well as a good support ecosystem as expedition partners were on hand to offer assistance to the disabled participants so that they could together realise their dream of conquering Mount Kinabalu.

"At times, it was quite challenging when they had to use the ropes as there was no ladder," he said.

He also said the university plans to continue the programme with other high-impact ones not only involving the university but also all stakeholders in line with the aspiration to bring an inclusive discourse to cover the needs of the disabled and non-disabled individuals.

"Let us all Malaysians look after the welfare and development rights of the PwD and also the marginalised groups because we are Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family) and we need to have an inclusive spirit between communities," he added. - BERNAMA