KUALA LUMPUR: Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli Othman, who used to be a humble kuey teow seller in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman here, has propelled himself to the top of the world by clinching Malaysia's second gold medal with a new world record at the Rio Paralympics in Brazil.
His father, Zolkefli Othman who was elated, said his son had promised to dedicate his gold medal in the shot put event to the family and the country.
Personally, the gold medal was a present for Zolkefli's 62nd birthday on Sept 1 which coincided with the day he had sent his son to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to join the Malaysian Paralympic contingent before leaving to Rio de Janeiro.
Muhammad Ziyad, 26, also created a new world record in the men’s shot put F20 (intellectual disability) event with a throw of 16.84 metres in his fifth attempt at the prestigious meet on Saturday.
"When I sent Ziyad to KLIA on Sept 1, which was on my birthday, he promised to bring back a gold medal. We are very happy for him," Zolkefli told Bernama.
Another national Paralympic athlete, Mohamad Ridzuan Mohd Puzi had clinched the country's first Paralympic gold medal in the men's 100m T36 (cerebral palsy) event.
Zolkefli said parents with children like Muhammad Ziyad should always engage their children as they have extraordinary abilities.
Commenting further, he said: "Ziyad does not like to trouble people, he is very independent and is a very good cook. Before he joined the National Sports Council, Ziyad was selling kueh teow in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman.
"Ziyad did not give up easily and was always working hard ever since he was in school. Ziyad is not afraid of hard work for when he was in Sekolah Menengah Teknik Tanah Merah in Kelantan, he built houses during his school holidays, said Zolkefli.
Ziyad, the eldest of four siblings was involved in sports when he was in the primary and secondary school, he said.
"I still remember when my son was taught to read when he was in Year Five by an Indian teacher until he got number three in the class. Ziyad is surrounded by people who love him, his sporting talent was spotted and assisted by a Chinese teacher in Kelantan. Until today, the teacher still follows his development.
"This is what sports is all about. There is no race or religion. Hard work pays off. I wish to thank all the people and kind hearts who supported him and prayed for his success. All his hard work and sacrifices has been rewarded," he said. --Bernama