TWO years ago, Zafril Zuslaini ran the opening leg of the gold medal-winning relay team just a month after the death of his mother.
Yesterday, Zafril was able to savour the spoils of victory for his own, spurred on by the last wishes of a mother wanting her son to succeed.
As Zafril dedicated his 400m gold to the memory of his mother Zainun Abidin, he also ended a 12-year drought for Malaysia in the one-lap race with Romzi Bakar the last winner in Jakarta.
"I only ran the relay in Korat (in 2007) because I had not trained for a month after my mother's death from lung cancer. I helped the relay team to win, but it is this gold medal which I have been after the most.
"My mother had prayed for me to win an individual gold medal and now it has been answered. I want to dedicate this to her memory," said Zafril, 24, who clocked a winning time of 47.11s, a personal best.
Zafril's hard-running style saw him lead from start to finish and he had enough in reserve to see off the challenge of Indonesia's Heru Astriyanto, who began the closing the gap 30 metres from the finish line.
|Mohd Zafril Mohd Zuslaini reacts after winning the 400m gold in Laos yesterday.|