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PETALING JAYA: The sacrifice of a national para lawn bowler who also works as a masseur, Muhamad Ayub Mohd, paid off after he successfully clinched the gold medal in the B2 men’s singles event (partially blind) at the International Bowls for Disabled World Championship in South Africa, which concluded last Friday.

The 42-year-old athlete said winning his first gold on the international stage was significant for him, especially after having to sacrifice leaving his wife, who is also a person with disabilities (PWD), to take care of their children.

He said he worked hard to give his best in the championship because he realised Malaysia had not won gold at the World Championships since 2004.

“Alhamdulillah, I am truly touched because this is my first gold at the world championship.

“For over 10 years, I have been involved in this sport, and this is the first time I have won a gold medal at the international level.

“I really didn’t expect to win gold because of the challenges from athletes from other countries with more experience and better tactics than me,“ he said when met at the national lawn bowls squad’s welcome ceremony at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)here, today.

However, Ayub explained that it was not easy for him to achieve this feat as it required significant sacrifices.

“I am already married and had to leave my wife and children. “My wife is also a PWD, and I had to pass on the responsibility to her, so it was quite challenging as she had to take care of our children by herself.

“For the sake of sports and the country, I had to participate. “When I joined training sessions, I lost income from my work as a masseur.

“All of these factors drove me to pursue gold with more determination,“ he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia also secured gold in the women’s B2 singles event, courtesy of Hasmiunirah Maliki.

Hasmiunirah expressed her surprise at winning gold, as she was selected to compete in the championship at the last minute, replacing her teammate Jariah Zakariah, who had won bronze at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games and was on Hajj pilgrimage.

“I never expected to win the gold medal, let alone achieve an undefeated record in this championship, so I was really speechless.

“I was only informed a week before the championship, luckily I still had training sessions at Bukit Kiara, although not sufficient, but my stamina was still there,“ she said.

Malaysia also secured bronze in the mixed B1 singles event, thanks to Mohd Zamrie Hasan.

Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh, present to welcome the national lawn bowls squad, stated that their historic success in South Africa made them eligible to receive the Sports Victory Incentive Scheme (SHAKAM).

“The National Sports Council will announce the amount that the athletes will receive after calculating it,“ she said.