Asean Para Games: Five athletes to look out for in Kuala Lumpur

(Clockwise from left) Yip Pin Xiu, Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi, Pattaya Tadtong, and Abdul Latif Romly. PHOTOS: ST FILE, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

SINGAPORE - With the completion of the SEA Games 2017 on Aug 30, Kuala Lumpur will now turn its attention to hosting the ninth Asean Para Games from Sept 17-23.

Of the 1,452 athletes who are slated to participate in 368 events over 16 different sports at the Games, here are five athletes to keep an eye out for during the games with five days remaining to the biannual games.

1. Yip Pin Xiu

Yip Pin Xiu won two gold medals at the Rio Paralympics in 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

The flag bearer for Singapore at last year's Rio de Janeiro Paralympics, Yip went on to win both the 50 and 100m (S2) backstroke events, delivering Singapore's two golds at the Games. Her 100m winning timing of 2min 7.09sec was also a new world record. Back in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, the 25-year old also brought home a gold and silver in the 50m backstroke and freestyle (S3) respectively.

2. Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi

Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi was the first Malaysian competitor to win gold at the Paralympic Games. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

After winning his first international gold medal at the 2011 Asean Para Games in Surakarta, Indonesia, Ridzuan never looked back. The 29-year-old, who was voted Paralympic Athlete of the Year at the 2015 Malaysian National Sports Awards, became the first Malaysian competitor to win gold at the Paralympic Games when he triumphed in the T36 100m at the 2016 Paralympics with a timing of 12.07sec.

3. Le Van Cong

While preparing for powerlifting at the 2012 London Paralympics, Cong was involved in a motorbike accident in 2011 which ruled him out for two years, denying him his target of capturing a medal at the Games. However, the 33-year-old worked himself back to fitness, won gold at the Asean Para Games in December 2015, and set a new Paralympic record for his weight class en route to winning gold at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

4. Abdul Latif Romly

Abdul Latif Romly retained his long jump title at the World Para Athletics Championships earlier this year with a championship record. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Malaysia's 2016 Rio Paralympics flag bearer broke his own world record (7.60m) thrice in the same day of competition to win gold at the T20 long jump event. Latif was named the 2016 Sportsman of the Year at the Malaysian Sports Awards - the first para athlete to do so. The 20-year-old is coming into the games having retained his long jump title at the World Para Athletics Championships in London two months ago with a championship record of 7.37m.

5. Pattaya Tadtong

Pattaya Tadtong won gold medals at the 2016 Rio Paralympics and the 2012 London Olympics. PHOTO: ST FILE

A boccia veteran, the 38-year-old Thai won a bronze medal over a decade ago at the 2004 Athens Paralympics in the BC1 event. The bronze was Thailand's first Paralympic medal. Pattaya continued to perform, winning gold in the mixed individual BC1 and was on the gold-winning Thai team in the mixed team (BC1-2) at the 2012 London Paralympics. Just last year, Pattaya won another gold at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, helping the Thais to one of their six golds at the Games.

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