Drawing strength from his Community to go further than ever before: Ziyad Zolkefli

Spurred on by a passionate Malaysian following sitting in the stands directly behind him, 32 year-old Ziyad clinched bronze in the men's shot put event at the 31st SEA Games

PHOTO: SYUHAINI AZLIN, SPORTPLUS.SG


Known for his quiet charm and witty humour, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli has been one of the biggest inspirations at the recently concluded Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.


Despite being Malaysia’s historic Gold medallist at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Ziyad came into the 31st SEA Games on the back of the disappointment of last year's Tokyo Games in which he was disqualified for reporting late despite delivering the performance of his life.

Using the memory of that experience as fuel for extra motivation, and spurred on by a passionate Malaysian following sitting in the stands directly behind him, the 32 year-old clinched bronze in the men's shot put event, his second medal of the Southeast Asian Games, having taken silver in the Manila Games in 2019.

PHOTO: SYUHAINI AZLIN, SPORTPLUS.SG


Shrieks of joy could be heard as the towering giant punched the air in jubilation with his 17.20 metre throw, which saw him finish behind silver medallist Thailand's Jakkapat Noisri (17.32m) and the Philippines' William Morrison III Edward, who took gold on 18.14m.


Interestingly, his throw of 17.20m actually eclipsed his silver medal performance in Manila (17.03m).

PHOTO: SYUHAINI AZLIN, SPORTPLUS.SG


Support from Family, Friends and Coaches


Ziyad's philosophy from the perspective of a physically challenged athlete is to count on the support of his close network of family, friends and coaches who have supported him through his journey.


Conscious of what he eats, Ziyad believes that to live uplifted means to take good care of yourself from your body to your mind. This has seen the Selangor native change his training methods as age catches up with him so that he can still perform at the highest level of sport.

PHOTO: SYUHAINI AZLIN, SPORTPLUS.SG


Mentally, he also practises discipline to compartmentalise his thoughts and block out distractions before every competition so as to focus on achieving his fullest potential and personal best.


Ziyad's hope is to one day help more people in the world understand the life of paralympic athletes so as to garner greater support for his teammates and those around the world who share the same sporting dreams despite their disabilities.


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