Muhammad Ziyad says rising star Jonah will spur him
KUALA LUMPUR - Veteran shot putter Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli admits that he feels 'challenged' by the success of rising star Jonah Chang Rigan, who broke the national shot put record at the 2023 Mokpo International Athletics Championships in South Korea recently.
Muhammad Ziyad, the 2016 Paralympic Games F20 (intellectual impairment) shot put champion, said Jonah's 17.67-metre throw, which broke Adi Alifuddin Hussin's national mark of 17.54m set at the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia, had kept him pumped up to compete with the athlete from Sarikei, Sarawak.
''When there is a competitor like Jonah, we will have a healthy competition. InsyaAllah, I will try to match his distance,'' he said when met recently.
Although a para-athlete, Muhammad Ziyad has competed with normal athletes and won several medals for the country, including bronze at the 2023 SEA Games in Cambodia last May with a throw of 17.30m.
The 33-year-old athlete also made a throw of 17.94m at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo but his participation was disqualified for arriving late to the call room at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium.
Muhammad Ziyad is also determined to erase the F20 shot put world record of 17.57m held by Maksym Koval by hitting the 18m mark at the 2024 Paralympic Games, which he feels is good enough to deny the Ukrainian gold.
Last week, the Selangor-born athlete proved his dominance in Asia yet again after successfully defending the F20 shot put gold medal at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Para Games (APG) with a throw of 16.65m.
He edged compatriot Mohamad Aliff Mohamad Awi, who took silver with 13.75m, while Thai athlete Sanepoot Boonkong won bronze with 13.67m.
Muhammad Ziyad had also won gold in the two previous editions, in Incheon, South Korea in 2014 and Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia in 2018. - BERNAMA