KUCHING: Swimmers anchored Sarawak to retain its status as the country’s Paralympics powerhouse with 84 gold medals in the just concluded 18th Malaysia Paralympic Games to emerge champion for the 12th consecutive edition.
The state’s strong contingent of 201 athletes grabbed 220 medals, including 63 silver and 73 bronze, throughout the five-day event since Aug 6 and became overall champion in swimming, tenpin bowling and powerlifting. This feat enabled Sarawak to surpass its initial target of 80 gold medals. The state has won the biennial National Paralympic Games since 1994.
Aquatics was the biggest contributor to the state’s medal tally with 39 gold, 17 silver and 11 bronze. Although the accomplishment failed to match the state’s aquatic performance in the previous Paralympic Games in Perlis of 44 gold medals, Sarawak swimmers have every reason to be proud of surpassing the 38-gold medal target.
Athletics contributed the second biggest medal haul with with 24 gold, 36 silver and 44 bronze while tenpin bowling contributed nine gold, two silver and nine bronze. The state’s powerlifters meanwhile, managed to clinch six gold, three silver and two bronze. Sarawak peddlers had a good outing in the games, winning five gold, a silver and one bronze.
Badminton contributed one gold, one silver and one bronze while chess gave the state three silver and four bronze medals. Sarawak athletes did not make the podium in archery and lawn-bowl.
This year’s edition of the Paralympics saw a much improved overall performance whereby 50 new meet records were created including two national records in powerlifting. Swimming stole the limelight throughout the games, where 46 meet records were shattered. Sarawak swimmers contributed to 16 of the records.
Sarawak’s Endi Bak lifted 107kg in the men’s 54kg category to erase the previous national record of 105kg, while Vision Jasnie of Pahang lifted 148kg in the men’s 65kg category to beat the previous national record of 147kg.
A total of 943 athletes from throughout the country took part in this year’s Paralympic Games. Johor took second place with 35 gold, 25 silver and 15 bronze while Terengganu finished third with medal haul of 30 gold, 24 silver and 19 bronze.
Meanwhile, swimmers Yoong Chung Wei of Penang and Selangor’s Carmen Lim were crowned Best Male and Female athletes respectively in the 2016 Sarawak Paralympics. Both definitely stole the limelight in this year’s swimming, each breaking four meet records.
Yoong, 21, broke the games record in the S14 classification men’s 100m butterfly, 100m breast stroke, 100m backstroke and 50m breaststroke SB14 category.
Carmen broke the women’s 100m breaststroke SB8 classification, 50m breaststroke, 100m freestyle S8 category and 50m freestyle. It was understood that the 16-year-old swimmer also broke the Asean record in the 50m freestyle which beat the previous time of 39.14s set in the 2015 Singapore’s Para Games.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin officiated at the closing ceremony held at the State Unity Stadium. Also present was Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah. The next National Paralympic Games will be held in Perak in 2018.