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Para swimming: Indonesia create golden waves

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9th ASEAN Para Games KL2017 – Swimming Indonesia – Kevin Ode Natama

9th ASEAN Para Games 2017 - RIMAU MaskotINDONESIAN swimmers stunned their competition at the National Aquatics Centre in Bukit Jalil in the ASEAN Para Games 2017, bagging another five gold and one silver on the last day to bring their total haul to 39 gold, 13 silver and 12 bronze.

Muhd Bejita completed his international debut withgold in the Men’s 50m Backstroke S14 and later joined Daniel Nugroho, Irfan Septiana and Kevin Ode Natama to win the Men 4x100m Medley Relay S14.

“I’m very happy as I have made my parents proud. I’m proud to be an athlete for Indonesia and will train harder for future competitions because my dream is to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics,” said this 17 year old who takes home five gold.

Muhd Bejita who competes in the S14 class for athletes with intellectual impairment was trained by his father and spotted by national coaches when he started winning competitions in the country.

“He used to train with able-bodied athletes. We brought him to our training centre last year and now, in his first international event, he’s shown us what he can do. The next aim is to make sure he is ready for the Asian Para Games in 2018 in Jakarta,” said assistant team manager Dinda Ayu Sekartaji Marbun.​

Whatever their methods, they seem to have paid off as the medal haul has exceeded Indonesia’s expectations. They have surpassed their tally from the Singapore 2015 ASEAN Para Games by 11 gold.

“We started our intensive training programme one year ago in Solo, where the swimmers train eight times a week, three morning sessions and five evening sessions. We have some really young swimmers so we make sure they have a proper schooling schedule while also attending training. The youngest swimmer here (in Malaysia) is 15,” said coach Handoko Purnomo.

​Handoko added that the team will take a two-month break before regrouping again in December to prepare for the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta in October.

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