KUALA LUMPUR (May 8): National powerlifter Bonnie Bunyau Gustin is on the right track for the Tokyo Paralympics after emerging victorious in the 2021 World Para Powerlifting World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday.
The 20-year-old Kuching-born Bonnie lifted 226kg to bag gold in the men’s above 72kg category, an improvement from his previous best of 207kg lift en route to winning two gold medals at the 2019 World Para Powerlifting Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
Iran’s Nader Moradi, the 2012 London Paralympics champion, took silver with a 204kg lift while Alexandr Daskov of Kazakhstan finished third (140kg) in the meet, which was streamed live on the World Para Powerlifting’s official Facebook page.
National powerlifting coach Jamil Adam, when contacted in Bangkok, said that Bonnie was making encouraging progress ahead of the Tokyo Paralympics, scheduled to begin on Aug 24.
“Based on his performance, he has obviously shown encouraging improvement compared to previous tournaments. He is currently ranked number one in the world in the 72kg category in the Tokyo ranking. However, the final ranking for Tokyo will be updated after the 11th Fazza Dubai 2021 Para Powerlifting World Cup next month,” he said.
The Paralympic Council of Malaysia (PCM), through their Facebook page, also congratulated Bonnie on his latest feat.
Meanwhile, Bibiana Ahmad bettered her previous personal best of 70kg by lifting 80kg in the third round to bring home Malaysia’s second gold medal of the day in the women’s up to 67kg category by virtue of being the only athlete to take part in the event.
Another woman powerlifter, Sona Agon, lifted 90kg to break her personal best of 70kg but that was only good enough for her to earn a bronze medal in the women’s up to 73kg category.
Turkish para athlete Sibel Cam took gold with a 125kg lift while Arawan Bookpo of Thailand (105kg) bagged the silver.
The outstanding achievement by three para athletes caught Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican’s attention as he took to his Twitter account to congratulate them last night. – Bernama