KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 – He called his family a night before the event to get their blessings and Sarawak-born Bonnie Bunyau Gustin clinched gold in Powerlifting in the Under-72kg at the Tokyo Paralympics on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Bonnie, making his Paralympic debut, not only fulfilled his father’s dream but he did it in style with a new Paralympic record of 228kg.
Bonnie, however was somewhat ”disappointed” that he was not able to break his own world record of 230kg when he failed in all his four attempts to lift 231kg.
Bonnie set his world record of 230kg which he did at the Para Powerlifting World Cup in Dubai in June.
The record-shattering gold in the Dubai leg was motivating for Bonnie who had also won the gold in the Bangkok leg in May.
Bonnie dedicated the gold in Tokyo to the people of Malaysia who celebrate Merdeka on Aug 31 and hopes that it will inspire other Malaysian para athletes.
He lifted 217kg in his first lift and went from strength to strength from here – lifting 225kg in his second and 228kg in the third for a new record.
The old record of 227kg belonged to Iraq’s Rasool Mohsin, achieved at the Rio Paralympics in 2016.
In Tokyo, Bonnie left his rivals trailing and Egypt’s Mahmoud Attia could only manage 191kg for his silver while Britain’s Micky Yule took the bronze with 182kg.
Bonnie is described as resilient and very determined in his powerlifting career and even quit schooling for that.
Father Gustin Jenang, a former Paralympic Powerlifter, had dreamt of his son (Bonnie) being a World and Paralympics champion – something which he had failed to achieve in his powerlifting career.
”Frankly, I was nervous as this is my first Paralympics. So to soothe my nervousness I called my family on the night before the competition. It helped me a lot. I am so happy and proud to have won.
”Paralympics is special…I have fulfilled my father’s dream. It’s a long journey and I hope to embark on doing better. This gold in Tokyo means a lot to me. I am prepared to work harder to achieve my goals,” said Bonnie.

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