Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Deaf shuttler Muhammad Shafiq aims to prove himself in two tourneys next year


KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 -- National deaf shuttler Muhammad Shafiq Hassan is hopeful of proving himself by triumphing in the two major championships that have been postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 24-year-old is determined to prove to everyone that even those from the disabled group could achieve success in sports when he competes in the Asia Pacific Deaf Games and 1st ASEAN Deaf Games here. The dates for these two championships have yet to be confirmed.

The singles shuttler took up badminton at the age of 10, playing with family members and friends. He learned the basics of the game by just watching badminton greats like Datuk Lee Chong Wei and China’s Lin Dan on television, without the help of any special coaches.

“I began by learning on my own, there was no one to give me pointers. I would usually watch television, that’s how I became interested. When I was 16, I told my parents I was interested to become a badminton player.

“I trained hard and played in the 2016 and 2018 Malaysia Deaf Games, finishing third in men's doubles and representing Malaysia last year,” he told Bernama through a sign language interpreter.

The former student of Politeknik Ibrahim Sultan in Pasir Gudang, now trains full time under the National Sports Council (NSC) programme and the Badminton Talent Development for the Deaf Programme, which is one of the Corporate Social Responsibility projects of Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor.

Muhammad Shafiq, who idolises Lin Dan, said he continues to train with 2019 World Deaf Badminton Championships bronze medallist Boon Wei Ying by complying with the standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the government during the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) period.

Meanwhile, coach Jason Wong said although Wei Ying had proven his capability on the international stage, Muhammad Shafiq is considered a future prospect judging by the development, commitment and fighting spirit he has displayed.

“We want to prepare him for the 1st ASEAN Deaf Games and Asia Pacific Deaflympics by setting at least a bronze medal target for him. Judging by his commitment and mindset now, we feel that he has a bright chance to do just that,” he said.

Jason, the former national number two shuttler behind Chong Wei, urged more parties and agencies to come forward and support the disabled athletes so that they too could succeed in sports.