Facts about Abdul Latif Romly


The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games came to a close on 5th September 2021, with our country bringing home five medals following stellar performances from dedicated athletes. Clinching one of three gold medals from this impressive tally is Abdul Latif Romly – a Malaysian Paralympic long jumper who won the gold medal in the men’s long jump (T20). 

Here are 10 quick facts about Abdul Latif Romly, two-time Paralympian and gold medallist.


1. He is from Perlis


Abdul Latif Romly Facts - long jump
Image credit:
@latifromly

Before becoming a household name in Malaysia, Abdul Latif Romly grew up in Kampung Paya Kelubi in Perlis as the youngest of seven children in his family. Born on 31st March 1997, the now-24-year-old athlete was once described as one of the “naughtier” kids among his siblings by his mum. He was an active kid too – at six years old, he was stung by 14 hornets after teasing their nest. 

It’s no surprise then, that he also showed interest in sports and speed, while growing up, which earned him the nickname Racing Boy.


2. He used to play football as a goalkeeper


Abdul Latif Romly Facts - kid
Image adapted from:
@latifromly

The Perlis-born national athlete is well-known among Malaysians as a long jumper. But he’s an all-rounder who has dabbled in several different sports since he was six years old, including football, futsal, running, long jump and high jump. 

Abdul Latif Romly Facts - as a kid
Image credit:
@latifromly

He picked up football with his brother, Mohd Hafidz, who plays in the Malaysia Super League. But he stopped playing as a goalkeeper upon his mum’s wishes following bruises received during a game. He also started running and doing high jump with his sister, Siti Aminah, when they were younger. Together, the three siblings often brought home medals won from various competitions, which their parents have lost track of and proudly display in their home for guests to see. 

Abdul Latif Romly Facts - parents
Abdul Latif’s parents standing in front of a wall with medals

Image credit: @latifromly


3. He started reading and writing at 15 years old


Abdul Latif Romly Facts - teenage
Image credit:
@latifromly

Although the Paralympian showed promising signs as an athlete when he was younger, he used to struggle in school. He is classified as having an intellectual disability, and wasn’t able to read or write while in Standard Six. The learning setback made it difficult for him to keep up with his peers, and he was often left behind in class or reprimanded by his teachers.

He only learned how to read and write at 15 years old. Now, he competes at international tournaments, including the Paralympic Games in the T20 sport class. This category is defined by the World Para Athletics as those with an intellectual impairment that affects their daily lives and that is exhibited before the age of 18. 


4. He was a teenage Paralympic gold medallist 


Abdul Latif Romly Facts - 2016 Paralympics
Image credit:
@latifromly

At just 19 years old, Abdul Latif already had a noteworthy accomplishment under his belt – winning a gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympics in the men’s long jump (T20). It had been his first time competing at a Paralympic Games too. The win catapulted him to national hero status, as he scored our country’s first Paralympic medal in the men’s long jump sporting event, and Malaysia’s third and final gold medal at the 2016 Paralympics.


5. He landed another Paralympic gold medal at the 2020 Games


Abdul Latif Romly Facts - 2020 Paralympics medal
Image credit:
@latifromly

The 2016 Paralympics wasn’t the end of his Paralympic gold medal run. At the recently concluded Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Abdul Latif defended his gold medal title by ranking first in the men’s long jump T20 final yet again. He managed the feat even though he was unable to complete all six jumps in the final due to an injury sustained, which left him exiting the event in a wheelchair.

But four jumps, including a stellar 7.26m and 7.45m jump on his first and second attempts, were enough to secure his spot at the podium. With this medal earned, he is now one of three Paralympians who have won two Paralympic medals for Malaysia, next to shot putter Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli and weightlifter Mariappan Perumal.


6. He’s broken several world records in his career 


Abdul Latif Romly Facts - long jump
Image credit:
@latifromly

Being crowned champion is a highlight of an athlete’s career. But another accomplishment that’s worth noting are world records set in tournaments. Abdul Latif managed to break several world records to secure his spot as the current world record holder in the long jump (T20), following an impressive 7.64m leap at the 2018 Asian Para Games in Indonesia.

To achieve this, he had to beat out a world record he’d previously set – a stunning 7.60m long jump at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. During the same Paralympics, he garnered attention for breaking his own world record thrice on the same day too. 


7. He’s the first para-athlete crowned Sportsman of the Year 


Abdul Latif Romly Facts - Sportsman of the Year
Image credit:
@latifromly

The two-time Paralympic gold medallist set another record in 2017. He was crowned National Sportsman of the Year at the National Sports Awards (ASN) 2016, becoming the first para-athlete to win the prestigious award since its inception in 1966, exactly 50 years ago. Other notable national athletes who won the award before him are shuttler Lee Chong Wei and track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang.


8. His Paralympic win was commemorated on Pos Malaysia stamps 


Abdul Latif Romly Facts - Pos Malaysia stamp
Image credit:
eBay 

Malaysians were proud of their national athletes following the Rio 2016 Paralympics, as it was the first time our country brought home gold medals – not just one but three of them – from the well-known sporting event. To commemorate the jubilant moment in Malaysia’s athletic history, three Paralympians had their faces printed on Pos Malaysia postage stamps, including Abdul Latif’s, and fellow national athletes Ziyad Zolkefli and Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi.

The stamps, called ‘Golden Moments in Paralympics Rio 2016’, were released on 20th December 2016. It marked yet another first in history, as they were the first non-royal individuals to have the honour of appearing on a postage stamp while still alive.


9. He was crowned champion on his international debut


Abdul Latif Romly Facts - medals
Image credit:
@latifromly

Abdul Latif began competing in international competitions at just 17 years old. On his international debut at the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea, he showed that he was an athlete to watch after clinching the gold medal following a long jump of 7.01m in the men’s long jump (T20) event. He’s since competed and won several gold and silver medals at the World Para Athletics Championships, ASEAN Para Games and the Paralympic Games.


10. He has a lifetime of free flights with AirAsia


Abdul Latif Romly Facts - long jump
Image credit:
@latifromly

National athletes who win a Paralympic or Olympic gold medal for the country are rewarded government incentives. For Abdul Latif and fellow gold medallists at the 2016 Paralympics, they were also given a lifetime of free flights with AirAsia.

The Malaysian low-cost airline’s CEO, Tony Fernandes, took to his verified Instagram account back in September 2016 to share that the three Paralympic gold medallists would be receiving free flights for life, while silver medallists would get five years of free flights and bronze medallists, three years.

As Abdul Latif’s supporters often use the hashtag “#terbanglatifterbang” – or “Fly Latif Fly” – due to his long jumps, it’s fitting that he’ll now get to fly in the skies for free too.


Facts about Malaysian Paralympian, Abdul Latif Romly


Dedicated national athletes, such as Abdul Latif, make us proud by representing our country at notable sporting events such as the Paralympic Games. At just 24 years old, he’s managed to achieve several world records and clinch gold medals already. So we look forward to cheering him on again whenever the Games or tournaments rolls around.

Watch our Facebook video on him here to learn more about the two-time Paralympian and gold medalist.

If you enjoyed these facts about him, read more here:


Cover image adapted from: @latifromly and @latifromly

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