SINGAPORE — Malaysia earned the first gold medal in the 8th ASEAN Para Games through Azuan Amir Hassan in the individual mixed (men and women) category TPB1 bowling event.

The 29-year-old knocked down 688 pins, 18 more than his counterpart from Thailand, Krisada Kietkongtawee, who settled for silver.

Malaysia also claimed the bronze medal in the event through Muhammad Hairul Miran with 665 pinfalls at the Temasek Club, here.

Category TPB1 is for athletes with visual disabilities.

“I did not expect to win gold today, this is my first appearance at the APG. I would like to thank my coach who has guided me on the techniques of bowling, on picking a suitable ball to use, and so on.

“I would also like to dedicate this medal to my mother, father and my wife Nor Anisah Mohd Suhaimi, who always motivate me and take me to practice everyday,” he told Bernama after the event.

A bronze medallist in the doubles event of the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea, Azuan is set to compete in tomorrow’s doubles event, and the team event on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Malaysia also won the silver and bronze medal in the women’s long jump F20 (intellectual impairment) category where Siti Noor Radiah Ismail, who recorded a jump of 4.98 meters, won silver, while Siti Nooriasah Mohamad Ariffin (4.90m) claimed the bronze.

Rica Oktavia from Indonesia won the gold medal in the event after breaking the Asian record, with a leap of 5.07m, at the National Stadium in Singapore.

National paralympic long jump coach Mohd Syahrul Amri, who had placed high hopes on Siti Noor Radiah was slightly disappointed that his protege could not win the first gold medal for Malaysia in the biennial games.

“I really hoped Radiah would win the gold medal, but it could not be realized. Her personal best is 5.16m, if she managed to do that, for sure we would have won the gold…I hope she can rise up to the challenge again,” he said. PNA/BERNAMA