Malaysia – The paralympic gold medallist Ziyad Zolkefli

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Fame, fortune and married life have not changed this gold medallist

Ziyad Zolkefli

Paralympian Muhammad Ziyad with his bride Zifirah Nasir at their wedding recently. Photo: Bernama

Fame and fortune can change a person.

But Paralympic gold medallist Ziyad Zolkefli aims to remain humble.

“Many things have changed for me after the Olympics. I’m richer than before, more well-known and married too!” chuckled the 26-year-old.

“But all this will not change the person I am. I had a simple life before the Rio Games and it’s the same now. I’m the same Ziyad yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

Ziyad soared to greatness at the Rio Games. He set a world record of 16.84m in the F20 (intellectual disability) shot putt event en route to the gold medal in September.

He was one of Malaysia’s three gold medal winners. The other two Paralympic gold medal winners were Abdul Latif Romly (men’s long jump F20) and Mohd Ridzuan Fuzi (men’s 100m T36 gold).

Siti Noor Radiah (women’s long jump F20) also became the first Malaysian woman to win a Paralympic medal when she took home a bronze.

Ziyad, who married Zafira Mohd Nasir last month, said he was doing just fine balancing between his athletics career and family life.

“My wife is very supportive. In fact, before marrying her, I told her of my hectic schedule as an athlete. She accepted it and is very understanding,” he said.

“In fact, sometimes, she is the one who pushes me to go for training on days when I feel like I just want to laze around,” he laughed.

Ziyad, who used to sell fried noodles on the street before taking up athletics seriously in 2006, is looking forward to next year’s World Championships and the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.

Since his return from Rio, Ziyad is always stopped by fans who want selfies with him. — Filepic

Since his return from Rio, Ziyad is always stopped by fans who want selfies with him. Photo: Filepic

“The world meet is a platform for me to break my world record again … I am psyching myself up for the task. The KL Games will be special because it’s a chance for me to win in front of my home fans.”

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