KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 23): Tokyo Paralympic Games champion Bonnie Bunyau Gustin will head Malaysia’s challenge at the 2021 World Para Powerlifting Championship in Tbilisi, Georgia from Nov 27 to Dec 5.
The 72 kilogramme (kg) category champion will be accompanied by five other athletes, including Tokyo Paralympics silver medallist Jong Yee Khie (107 kg) and Bonnie’s brother, Bryan Junency Gustin (80 kg).
National coach Jamil Adam said Georgia is an important outing as it is the first competition for his powerlifters to collect qualifying points for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, France.
“Our preparations for Georgia are proceeding smoothly although the athletes only returned to train in the middle of October.
“The competition in Tbilisi is more towards helping the para athletes to get back their rhythm after a one-month rest following the Tokyo Paralympics,” he said when contacted by Bernama today.
The 52-year-old coach is targeting podium finishes for Bonnie and Yee Khie and top-five positions for the rest.
He said he did not want to pressure the athletes and expect them to begin peaking two years before Paris 2024.
“We have two championships next year offering qualifying points to Paris 2024, namely in South Korea in May and the Para Asian Games in Hangzhou, China in October. I expect the powerlifting athletes to start peaking around that time,” he said.
The other athletes who will be participating in Georgia are Nicodemua Manggoi Saad (88 kg), Wan Nur Azri Wan Azman (97 kg) and Sona Agon (73 kg), the nation’s sole women’s representative.
The team will leave for Georgia early tomorrow morning and are expected to be back home on Dec 8. — Bernama