KUALA TERENGGANU: Success begets success for Malaysia’s most successful physically-challenged cyclist Zuhairie Ahmad Tarmizi.
Zuhairie, who won three gold and one silver at the Asean Para Games held in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 17-23, was justly rewarded for his effort.
He pocketed the biggest purse of RM18,500, out of the total of RM365,000 incentives given to Terengganu’s 2017 Sea Games and Asean Para Games athletes.
Zuhairie had won individual gold in the C5 1km time trial, C5 4km pursuit and C5 1km), and one individual silver in C4 road time trial at the Games.
The first thing on his mind is to put the incentive money as the downpayment for a house for his family.
“It will give my family and I peace of mind.
“Then, I can fully concentrate on my training under coach Johari Nayan at the National Velodrome in Nilai (Negri Sembilan) for forthcoming competitions,” said Zuhairie, 27, who lost his hand in a sugar cane machine accident in 2012.
The lanky lad is preparing for the Asian Road and Para Cycling Championship (in Naypidaw, Myanmar) on Feb 6-12 next year, followed by the World Para Track Cycling Championship in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in July.
Zuhairie said that when he stumbled upon cycling after the accident, he did not expect to excel, just like how he did as a state soccer player previously.
“Every time I succeed in a race or competition, it drives me forward.
“Following my success at the Asean Para Games, I am now even more determined to for greater glory,” said Zuhairie, who hails from Kampung Baru Muda in Marang.
Zuhairie was among 99 Sea Games and 33 Asean Para Games officials and athletes from Terengganu who represented the nation.
They received their incentives from Sultan of Terengganu Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, who also won the Sea Games equestrian endurance 80km individual and team gold, at a reception at the Primula Beach Hotel.
It helped Malaysia emerge overall Sea Games champions with 145 gold medals and second overall in the Asean Para games with 90 gold medals.
Olympic cyclist Fatehah Mustapa was the next biggest incentive recipient with RM18,000, with four gold (team sprint and individual sprint, keirin and 500m) at the Sea Games in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 19-30.
Cycling contributed the most number of medals with 10 gold, three silver and two bronze at the Sea Games; and three gold, two silver and two bronze at the Asean Para Games.
Another two cycling gold were contributed by world keirin champion Azizulhasni Awang for individual sprint and kierin; and two gold by Irwandie Lakasek for team pursuit and individual scratch.
Fatehah, Azizulhasni and Irwandie are currently away training in Australia for upcoming competitions.
The Sea Games and Asean Para Games officials and athletes were rewarded by the state government under the ‘Skim Wakil Negara’ (SWARA) with RM500 each for representing the country.
They were altogether paid RM66,000 in total.
Likewise, under the ‘Skim Hadiah Kemenangan’ (SHAKE), 56 Sea Games athletes who won 26 gold, 16 silver and 14 bronze medals were paid a total of RM219.675; while 30 Asean Para Games medal winners (seven gold, 12 silver and 11 bronze) were handed out a total of RM80,000.
Altogether, they were paid RM299,675 in total.
For both Games, athletes who won an individual gold received RM5,000 each, silver RM3,000 each and bronze RM2,000 each.
Team gold medallists received RM2,500 each, silver RM2,000 each and bronze RM1,500 each.
Terengganu state secretary Datuk Wan Nawawi Wan Ismail, who is also the Malaysian Lawn Bowls Federation president, won the sports association leadership award of RM5,000.
The sport contributed seven gold, one silver and two bronze at both the Games.
Also rewarded were Malaysian Gymnastics Federation president Abdul Razak Mat Amin (whose gymnasts won 13 gold, nine silver and two bronze) and Terengganu Cycling Association president Zainal Abidin Hussin (whose cyclists won 13 gold, 10 silver and three bronze).