Long jump star Saifuddin works towards Rio glory
07 December, 2015
Malaysian long jumper Mohamad Saifuddin Ishak (below) won gold medal in the F11/F12 long jump on Monday and then quickly turned his focus towards Paralympic glory in Rio next year.
Photo: Charles Loh / SAPGOC
Saifuddin is among the elite athletes at this 8th ASEAN Para Games whose training and schedule has been focused on progress well beyond the action in Singapore.
The 23-year-old has already had experience of the big time global stage having featured in the 2012 Paralympics in London, where he finished a hugely creditable fifth.
Then in the IPC World Athletics Championships in Doha he picked up a bronze medal with a brilliant jump of 6.94 metres.
Saifuddin’s previous best effort had been his 6.84 metres leap at the Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea last year that won him the gold medal.
“Now I want seven metres in Rio,” the Malaysian said with a smile as he sat in the Singapore National Stadium waiting for his medal ceremony.
“I am excited about going to Rio for the Paralympics and to test myself against the very best in the world,” he said.
“It is all about improving step by step and that is the goal going towards Rio,” he added.
“It is my second Paralympics and so I am looking to do better than the fifth place last time,” he said.
Saifuddin, who is partially sighted having vision only in his right eye, trains with fully able-bodied Malaysian team-mates.
“I think that is important because training alongside able-bodied athletes I can learn from their techniques,” he said.
The Malaysian, who has been with partial vision since he was five-years-old, says he has enjoyed the facilities at these ASEAN Para Games.
“The facilities are very professional. The stadium, the hotel and everything. The track is also great, very fast,” he said.
Team-mate Muhd Afiq Mohd Ali Hanafiah, picked up the silver medal in the long jump to add to his gold in the men’s 100 metres T12.