1. Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi, fondly known as Dek Wan, was born in Padang Besar, Perlis
He was born on 27 September 1987 to Mohamad Puzi Mohamad Mat Isa and Laila Ali. He is the second of three children. Mohamad Puzi, works as a driver in Felda Rimba Mas, Padang Besar while his wife is a housewife.
2. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of one
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills (the ability to move in a coordinated and purposeful way). CP is caused by brain damage that happens before or during a baby’s birth, or during the first 3 to 5 years of a child’s life.
3. In 2004, Ridzuan Puzi was discovered in a talent search organised by the Youth and Sports Ministry
Affizam Amdan, a voluntary coach, spotted Ridzuan’s potential to be an exceptional athlete in one of the school meets that he took part in. Acting as his personal coach, Affizam has been guiding, grooming and training him since 2006 and stayed by his side until 2010.
4. During that period, his father sent him to undergo training for furniture-making skills at a workshop in Cuping, Perlis.
His father had hoped that Ridzuan not only learn how to make furnitures, but also learn how to take care of himself. Then, Affizam dedicated the next two years to fetching Ridzuan Puzi back and forth from the workshops to trainings and back home.
Later, the transportation woes were resolved when the government allocated a place and the means for Ridzuan and other athletes in similar situations to make a living and have shelter.
5. The boys lived together in a simple room with a bunk bed, a ceiling fan, a slim wooden cupboard, and a 14-inch television.
The small room was renovated by Affizam using his own money for their comfort and entertainment.
Note: the site was demolished after Hari Raya Haji 2016 to make way for new developments.
6. Dek Wan used to man a nasi lemak stall with his friends to earn RM15 a day.
They sold nasi lemak and made burgers just to earn some pocket money. Apart from that, they did all kinds of chores, including washing dishes and cleaning the stall.
7. A lorry driver sponsored Dek Wan a pair of new running shoes.
Chuah Heng Oon, a lorry driver, received news that Ridzuan Puzi was looking for someone who could sponsor a new pair of shoes that costs about RM200 because he could not afford them and his old shoes were worn out. The man responded by gifting Ridzuan a nice and expensive pair.
Not long after that, Ridzuan was selected to become a national athlete.
Ridzuan did not forget Chuah’s kind deed, as he remembered to thank the man who gave him the shoes after winning the gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games.
8. National coach R. Jeganathan sees Ridzuan as ‘his son’
R. Jeganathan, who has been coaching normal athletes and Paralympic athletes for almost 20 years, would often push Ridzuan very hard during training sessions. At times, he would even scold Ridzuan if he didn’t perform.
9. Prior to Rio, Ridzuan Puzi had always excelled in professional athletics and recorded successes in other games such as the World Athletics Championships
His most memorable achievement to date is his first gold medal at the 2011 Asian Para Games in Surakarta, Indonesia.
5 years later, he finished the 100m T36 (cerebral palsy) with a gold medal at the IPC World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. The 31-year old registered 12.08s to win the gold medal.
At the 2016 Para Asean Games, Ridzuan clinched the first spot when he crossed the finish line in 12.01 seconds.
10. He received the 2015 Kesatria Terbilang Award from UMNO for his achievements
“This award is a boost to my spirit. I am excited and it will be an inspiration for my preparation to the Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil in September next year,” Ridzuan Puzi said when receiving the award.
11. He was voted Paralympic Athlete of the Year at the 2015 Malaysian National Sports Awards
He won the award following the success of winning the gold medal at the IPC World Athletics Championships in Qatar for the 100m (T36) and ASEAN Para Games (APG) in Singapore in the 100m and 200m (T36) events
12. In preparation for the Rio Paralympics, he was given the opportunity to receive extensive training from experts in Germany
Well, we know that the training has really paid off. 🙂
13. Ridzuan Puzi achieves golden hat-trick at 2018 Asian Para Games
On 11 October 2018, Malaysian athletes racked up another four gold, three silver and one bronze at the Indonesia Asian Para Games in Jakarta. Ridzuan, who is known for his prowess in the sprint events, added the men’s long jump T36 gold to his earlier wins, emerging victorious in a new Asian and games record of 5.49 metres at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.