'Ironman’ Zhi Yan defies odds to bag second wushu gold

Tan Zhi Yan
16/09/2022 04:31 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 (Bernama) -- With six screws on his back after undergoing spinal surgery two years ago, Melaka wushu exponent Tan Zhi Yan defied the odds to bag the men’s taijijian gold medal in the Malaysia Games (Sukma) at Gymnasium 2 of the National Sports Council (NSC) in Bukit Jalil today.

Zhi Yan, who also won gold at the Hanoi SEA Games in May, was clearly in a class of his own as he performed with skillful artistry to collect 9.646 points to finish ahead of Federal Territories’ Kerk Qing (9.576 pts) and Sarawak’s Edison Wong Sing Yen (9.513 pts).

The 22-year-old Zhi Yan, who also clinched the men’s taijiquan gold yesterday, dedicated his win today to Loh Choon How, who has been coaching him for the past two years.

“Actually, in 2020, I underwent surgery on my spine and six metal screws - three each on the right and left - were inserted to support my back. It’s still a bit painful but I know how to manage it.

“I want to thank the NSC, National Sports Institute (NSI), Wushu Federation of Malaysia (WFM) president Datuk Chong Kim Fatt, coaches and fellow exponents for everything they have done for me in my career,” he said when met by reporters here today.

Meanwhile, Penang exponent Chuah Shangyang was thrilled to bits after capturing the men’s nandao gold medal, thus making amends for the silver he bagged in the 2018 edition in Perak.

Shangyang, who has been with the national team for the past seven years, admitted that he was excited to add to his medal collection in his final appearance in the 20th edition of Sukma.

“Before I started my event, my coach told me to take a deep breath and stay cool, so I am truly thankful to him. There are no more major tournaments after this meet.

“If you ask me what I want to do after this, my answer is that I just want to rest and spend quality time with my family because we, national athletes, hardly have time to do that,” he said.

Shangyang won gold with 9.643 points, followed by Sarawak’s Danny Ling Hang Kee (9.616 pts) and Johor’s Chan Shi Weng (9.595 pts).