PENANG cyclist Nur Azlia Syafinaz Mohd Zais, who will be representing Malaysia in the Tokyo Paralympic Games from Aug 24 to Sept 5, received a boost when she was given RM10,000 incentive by the state government today.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow presented the mock cheque to her virtually by handing it physically to state Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee in Komtar at a simple handover ceremony.
She is the third Penang athlete to receive the state government’s incentive as shuttler Chan Peng Soon and artistic gymnast Jeremiah Loo Phay Xing were similarly awarded prior to competing in the recently concluded 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Chow congratulated the visually impaired Nur Azlia Syafinaz for qualifying for the Tokyo Paralympic Games. In all, Malaysia will be sending a 22-member strong squad for the Games.
“Indeed, your commitment and dedication in pursuing your dreams despite your limited vision has certainly opened the eyes of many. You are the inspiration of the country!” Chow said in his speech at the online incentive presentation ceremony.
“I hope the fighting spirit and the spirit of sportsmanship shown by the Malaysian team in the Tokyo Olympics recently will be emulated by the Malaysian paralympians.
“Congratulations and well done to you and all the national paralympic athletes. We hope you all will take the challenge positively in order to do your best as well as bring home medals for the state and country.”
Soon said Nur Azlia Syafinaz has proved her ability and potential when she represented the country at the Asian Para Games in 2018 and managed to collect three gold medals and one silver medal for the track and tandem events.
In addition, he said she had also competed in the Asian Track Cycling Championships and won three golds in 2018, three golds in 2019 and two bronze medals in 2020.
“This shows her perseverance and consistent performances. The fact that she is going to compete in the Tokyo Paralympic Games brings a great deal of pride to the whole country, especially among the people of Penang,” Soon said.
Nur Azlia Syafinaz, who is now training in Nilai, thanked the state government and PSSC for the incentive and encouragement.
“The Covid-19 situation has hampered my training. But nevertheless, I will try my best. Do pray for me that I come home safely,” she said.
Among those who were present at the online event were state Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr Amar Pritpal Abdullah, Batu Lancang assemblyman Ong Ah Teong and Sungai Pinang assemblyman Lim Siew Khim (who are both committee members of the Penang State Sports portfolio), PSSC director Harry Chai Heng Hua, Penang Sports and Recreation Association (Pesron) deputy president Prof Datuk Dr Doraisamy Govindasamy and Penang Cycling Association secretary Munir Mohamed Ismail.
Story by K.H. Ong
Pix by Noor Siti Nabilah Noorazis
Video by Darwina Mohd Daud