National powerlifting champion Bonnie Bunyau Gustin won Malaysia’s first gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics Games today.
Bonnie, from Serian, Sarawak, also broke the Paralympics record of 227kg set by Rasool Mohsin from Iraq at the Rio 2016 Games by lifting 228kg in his third attempt on the first day of the sport.
However, Bonnie did not beat his own world record of 230kg which he set at the 11th Fazza Dubai Powerlifting World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in June, failing to lift 231kg on his fourth attempt.
The silver medal was won by Egyptian athlete Mahmoud Attia while the bronze went to Micky Yule of Great Britain.
Bonnie got off to a good start with a first lift of 217kg and continued to perform well, lifting 225kg on his second attempt before completing the third in style to break the Paralympics record.
Mahmoud was awarded the silver after pulling off his best lift of 191kg on his third attempt while Micky grabbed the bronze after lifting 182kg, also on his third attempt.
Bonnie’s achievement in winning the first gold medal for the country’s powerlifting camp also marked another milestone for Malaysia’s participation in the prestigious Games since the 1972 edition in Heidelberg, Germany.
Malaysia’s first medal in the Paralympic Games also came via powerlifting through P Mariappan who won bronze in the 1988 edition in Seoul, South Korea.
At the next Games in Barcelona in 1992, the national powerlifting squad improved on the medal tally in South Korea with one silver medal contributed by Cheok Kon Fatt and one bronze by Mariappan.
The 2008 edition in Beijing saw another powerlifter, Siow Lee Chan, make history when she became the first female Malaysian athlete to win a medal at the Paralympic Games. She won a bronze.
The Malaysian challenge in Japan will be continued by Jong Yee Khie in the 107kg event on Augt 30.