Muhd Shahrizan targets gold at ASEAN Para Games
Born with spastic diplegia — a form of cerebral palsy which mainly affects the lower extremities of his body, including the legs, hips and pelvis — hasn’t stopped Muhd Shahrizan from targeting a medal at this year’s ASEAN Para Games (APG).
The 21-year-old will be representing our country in the sport of Boccia.
So, what is Boccia?
Boccia is a sport that is played on a hard surface and the players must throw or roll the ball into the court using their hands or feet. The main aim of boccia is to get your (team’s) ball(s) closest to the Jack (white target ball).
Shahrizan’s introduction to the sport wasn’t all smooth sailing, as he was initially dismissive of the game comparing it to the traditional game of marbles. His first encounter with the sport was when he witnessed a group of his schoolmates deep in focus taking turns to throw red and blue leather balls at a single white one located a short distance away.
It was only nine years later at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore (CPAS) that he would come across the sport, playing it on a sudden desire.
He soon developed an interest for the sport and eventually decided to take it up at a competitive level.
His pillar of support
A decision that has seen himself been selected for Singapore’s 10-member boccia team for December’s APG on home soil. His selection was well-received by his grandparents, whom Shahrizan shares a close bond with.
Shahrizan, an only child, has been under the care of his grandparents since he was a young boy. With both his parents out earning a living, the APG athlete had to learn how to live independently. Having his grandparents however, has smoothened that process.
Shahrizan cites his grandparents as his heroes, and he gets teary-eyed when mentioning them. He intends to dedicate a medal to them if victorious at the games.
However, Shahrizan displays a steelier side at training.
Despite being a new member of the team, he isn’t afraid to chide his team-mates if he feels they have not be giving their all. Such is his commitment towards excelling in the APG. He believes APG is a platform for disabled athletes to let people know that they are capable of doing positive things — to change the perception of people towards disabled athletes.
Show him your support
Overcoming challenges has been part and parcel of Shahrizan’s life. His story is an example of how success can be achieved even in the most difficult circumstances.
All we need to do is work hard and never lose faith. And we hope Singaporeans will show faith in our Paralympic athletes by going down to support them at this year’s APG.
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