Ziyad Zolkefli and Abdul Latif Romly are hungry for more success after emerging as the world champions in para-athletics.
Their goals – to continue with their domination in every competition they compete.
The two athletes are also national heroes and inspirations to fellow para athletes since winning the world titles.
The 28-year-old Ziyad from Gombak, Selangor, who used to be a noodle seller, has the distinction of holding four records – Asean, Asian, Paralympics and world.
He won his second World Para Athletics Championships gold in the men’s shot putt F20 (learning disability) in London in July.
Ziyad also broke the world record with a throw of 17.29m, erasing his previous world record of 16.84m he set last year at the Rio Paralympics.
Ziyad became the first Malaysian para athlete to win the bronze medal against the able-bodied athletes at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in August with a hurl of 17.12m.
Ziyad, who became a father to a baby girl this year, remains humble despite his outstanding achievements.
“All my hard work in training is paying off exceptionally well. There is no shortcut to becoming a world champion. You have to train hard and must believe in yourself. I believe that you can achieve anything in life if you put your mind and effort into it,” said Ziyad.
“It has been an excellent year for me in sports. I did well in all the competitions I featured this year. And I want to continue improving my personal best every year. To achieve that I will continue to train hard, stay focus and believe in God that I can win more gold medals and continue to break world records,” continued Ziyad, who wants to inspire more Malaysian para athletes to follow in his footsteps.
“My main challenge in 2018 is to break my world record at the Asian Para Games in Jakarta. I am leaving no stone unturned to achieve it,” said Ziyad.
Abdul Latif, 20, retained the gold medal in the men’s F20 long jump event with an effort of 7.37m in the World Para Athletics Champion-ships in London in July to better his own meet record of 7.35m, which he set en route to the gold at the 2015 edition in Doha, Qatar.
Last year, Abdul Latif broke the world record by clearing 7.60m, to win gold at the Rio Paralympics.
Abdul Latif from Kangar, Perlis, was the first Paralympian in 50 years to win 2016 Sportsman of the Year. He said that the sky is the limit for him.
“It feels great to be a world and paralympic champion. But I have to put extra efforts in training as I want to maintain as the best para athlete in the world.
“I will set my goals much higher in competitions in 2018 and I won’t stop until I achieve it,” said Abdul Latif.
He featured in the KL SEA Games in August despite being down with food poisoning and finished in seventh spot with a jump of 7.34m.
“I will be competing against able-bodied athletes in competitions next year to further improve my personal best in meets. Expectations will be much higher for me in competitions in 2018 and I hope to scale to greater heights in the meets I compete in the future,” said Abdul Latif.