31 August 2021
Malaysia’s two Tokyo 2020 Paralympic heroes – powerlifters Bonnie Bunyau Gustin and Jong Yee Khie – were given a modest but meaningful reception upon their arrival at the KL International Airport (KLIA) here today.
The two powerlifting hercules, who left the Narita International Airport, Japan at 10.20am today on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH9117, landed safely at KLIA at about 5.20pm with national coach Jamil Adam.
Upon exiting the arrival hall, they were received with shouts of “Demi Malaysia” by new youth and sports minister Ahmad Faizal Azumu, his deputy Ti Lian Ker, National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Ahmad Shapawi Ismail and representatives from the Paralympic Council of Malaysia (PCM).
Gold-medallist Bonnie and silver-medallist Yee Khie then spent some time for a brief media conference before boarding a bus to the hotel for the compulsory 14-day quarantine.
The national powerlifting camp can be proud of their athletes’ achievements, especially after Bonnie won the country’s first medal – a gold – at the Tokyo Paralympics en route to setting a new Games record of 228kg in the men’s 72kg category on Saturday (Aug 28).
Yee Khie, then, added a silver in the men’s 107kg category on Sunday (Aug 29) when he lifted 237kg at the Tokyo International Forum.
Meanwhile, Faizal, when met by reporters, hoped that the success of the two powerlifters would motivate the national contingent to achieve more success at the Tokyo Paralympics.
“I am thankful at being able to welcome home Bonnie and Yee Khie. All arrived home safely and they were very enthusiastic about coming back on the day the country celebrates its 64th Merdeka Day.
“We now have Chew Wei Lun, who won his boccia semifinals today and will face world number one David Smith of Great Britain in the final tomorrow. I am confident of his ability,” he said.
Earlier, Wei Lun had advanced to the final after beating world No 18 Andre Ramos of Portugal 9-5 in the last four of the mixed individual BC1 (physical impairment) category to create history by becoming the first Malaysian boccia athlete to win a medal at the Paralympics.
Boccia is a sport similar to petanque but played by athletes with physical disabilities.