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Muhammad Nur Syaiful Zulkafli booked his slot in the final after occupying seventh place overall. ― Bernama pic
Muhammad Nur Syaiful Zulkafli booked his slot in the final after occupying seventh place overall. ― Bernama pic

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TOKYO, Aug 26 ― After suffering an episode of disappointment in his first event yesterday, national swimmer Muhammad Nur Syaiful Zulkafli can now breathe a sigh of relief as he qualified for the final of the S5 men’s 100 m freestyle event (physical disability) at the Tokyo Paralympic Games today.

The Paralympics debutant, who started in the third lane, finished in third place with a time of 1 minute 16.33 seconds (s) in the first heat at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, here.

The 26-year-old athlete from Sarawak booked his slot in the final after occupying seventh place overall.

Only the best eight swimmers from the two qualifying heats today advance to the final.

Defending champion from Brazil Daniel de Faria Dias, emerged the winner of the first heat after clocking 1: 13.02s while yesterday’s men’s 200m freestyle (S5) silver medallist Antoni Ponce Bertran of Spain, came in second with a time of 1: 13.33s.

The final is scheduled for 5pm today (4 pm Malaysian time).

Yesterday, Nur Syaiful missed the opportunity to qualify for the final of the S5 men’s 200m freestyle event after his participation in the first heat was cancelled due to a technical error when he was found to have an adhesive tape on his left shoulder.

Nur Syaiful had clocked 2: 56.78s in his qualifying heat which would have been a new Asian record. The record is currently held by Thai swimmer Phuchit Aingchaiyaphum who did 2: 58.11s in Melbourne, Australia last year.

He later revealed that he had to patch the adhesive tape because he was in pain following an injury sustained to his left shoulder since last Saturday, before his participation was cancelled after being informed by the referee that the use of the tape was not permitted. ― Bernama

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