Dubai: Malaysia’s world champion Abdul Latif Romly knows he has a lot of hard work to do in the next few months if he has to win another gold and perhaps better his existing world record in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Romly’s best jump of 7.24 metres in the men’s long jump T20 came on his sixth and final attempt, but that was only good enough for a silver as Ranki Oberoi of the Netherlands took the gold with a leap of 7.39 metres to set a new championship record at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai on Wednesday.
The long jump T20 final was an eye-opener for both coach and athlete. “The first thing is that there is a lot of hard work to be done still, if we are going to be genuine medal contenders in Tokyo,” Romly told Gulf News through his coach.
“There are going to be no short cuts, but just a lot of hard work ahead for me. Suddenly, we see that there are more competitors who are looking at my world record.”
Romly hurt his right ankle during the second jump and from then on, never managed to get going with his take-off foot. “I don’t want to make any excuses,” he said. “The first thing will be to attend to the injury and then start training for the South-East Asian Games in Philippines (in January 2020).”
T20 is a sport classification for disability athletics in track and jump events that broadly covers athletes with intellectual disabilities. “So trying to train such athletes has three crucial keys, and those are patience, patience and patience,” Romly’s coach Syahrul Amri said.
“Trying to train such athletes is such a huge challenge. For one, you’ve got to keep on repeating instructions with the utmost patience. And then, you’ve got to be sharp to know about their moods and their mood swings all the time. It’s not their fault that they feel that, so being patient is the best thing one can do while dealing with such athletes.”
Romly had things under control, except for once during a faulty fourth attempt, during Wednesday’s long jump final. “And yet, there is no room for anger from my part,” Amri said. “I’ve got to just ensure what he needs and gauge his mood and continue with what we’ve got to do,” he added.