KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 — National powerlifting champion Bonnie Bunyau Gustin stunning achievement in winning the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games is hoped to herald the start of a historic showing for the national contingent at the prestigious sporting event.
Newly-appointed Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said the success of the pint-sized gold medalist from Serian, Sarawak will serve to inspire national athletes who are to compete to achieve their medal dreams.
He said Bonnie, 22, showed that his performance at the Tokyo International Forum can also be emulated by national athletes through their sportsmanship during competition.
“We still have several more events left and we hope Bonnie will be a catalyst for other athletes to continue to aim for the gold, or at the very least, to bring glory to Malaysia by giving their all in competition.
“When you represent Malaysia in any way, it doesn’t mean you have to bring home a medal, but the discipline and dedication we exhibit will shine through and show the world what Malaysian Family values are all about,” he said during a virtual media conference today.
Bonnie won the gold medal in the powerlifting 72 kilogramme (kg) event with a lift of 228 kg, beating Egyptian Mahmoud Attia (191 kg) and Great Britain athlete, Micky Yule (182 kg).
Better yet, he also smashed the Paralympic Games record of 227 kg held by Rasool Mohsin from Iraq, set during the 2016 Rio Games with the 228 kg lift he made during his third attempt on the first day of the competition.
Ahmad Faizal said the win was such a great triumph, not only for Bonnie, but for all Malaysians.
“Such a proud achievement. We need to be confident in ourselves and today Bonnie proved that a youth from Sarawak who went to Tokyo can become the greatest powerlifter and smash the Paralympics record,” he said.
Ahmad Faizal added that the win was such a meaningful gift to the country and Malaysians who will celebrate the 64th National Day soon. — Bernama