Friday, October 10, 2008

Decision On Further Oil Price Cut By End Of The Month - Shahrir

JOHOR BAHARU, Oct 5 (Bernama) -- The decision on a further reduction of oil prices can only be made after the last cabinet meeting for the month of October said Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad.

"For the past three days, the price of crude oil has been traded below US$100 (RM340) a barrel and if the price remains low by end of the month, we will reduce the price of oil further," he told reporters after hosting a Hari Raya open house at the Kampung Melayu Majidee Community Hall here Sunday.

He added that the drop in crude oil price in the global market was a good sign for the revival of economy in the country.

On June 4, petrol and diesel prices were raised from RM1.92 to RM2.70 and RM1.58 to RM2.58 per litre respectively but on Aug 23, the government reduced the price of petrol by 15 sen per litre and diesel by 8 sen per litre when oil prices began to ease.

Following a drop in crude oil prices globally, the government had on Sept 24 announced a further reduction of 10 sen from the initial price of petrol (RM2.55) and diesel (RM2.50).

The announcement saw RON 97 petrol being sold at RM2.45 per litre, RON 92 RM2.30 per litre and diesel at RM2.40 a litre.


Extracting Fuel From Waste Plastic Products?

KUCHING, Oct 3 (Bernama) -- Can we extract fuel from waste plastic products? It is "possible" according to Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Fadillah Yusof Friday.

He said a Sarawak-based company was carrying out a pilot project to extract fuel from plastic waste products, which have been always treated as a threat to the environment.

He said the company, owned by a former employee of Petronas from Miri, had set up a plant in Shah Alam, Selangor to extract fuel from the waste products.

"The ministry will fund the research and development (R&D) works, under the MOSTI e-Techno Fund if the pilot project proves successful in a year's time."Then, they will roll it out and venture with industry people to commercialise it," he told reporters at his Hari Raya open house in Petra Jaya here.

He added that the company had submitted an application for RM10 million to MOSTI e-Techno Fund, a competitive funding to undertake development of new and cutting edge technologies with commercial potential and to create new business and generate economic wealth for Malaysia.

Fadillah said the ministry welcomed the pilot project, as it will help save the environment and tackle better the use of non biodegradable plastic.

A company from Germany is expected to supply the Sarawak-based company waste plastic products for the purpose of extraction.

Plastic is prepared from petroleum products through polymerisation process.

Fuel is said to be extracted from plastic items through a depolymerisation process using a specially developed reactor.


Fuel Retail Price Can Only Be Reduced If World Crude Oil Price Falls Below US$104 A Barrel

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 (Bernama) -- The local retail price of fuel can only be reduced if the average world crude oil price for October falls below US$104 a barrel, Domestic Trade and onsumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said.

"It depends on the world fuel price. The downward trend has to be continuous and the average price must be below US$104 a barrel," he said when asked whether the governemnt proposed to further reduce the retail price of petrol.

He was speaking to reporters at the Aidilfitri Open House of the prime minister and Muslim cabinet ministers at the Putra World Trade Centre here.

On Sept 24 the government announced a 10 sen reduction in the fuel price to RM2.45 and RM2.40 a litre respectively for petrol and diesel.

On rumours that petrol stations in the city were facing a shortage of supply, he said the fuel supply depended on the station operators.

"Oil is a controlled item. So they (station operators) must be careful when talking about a fuel shortage or about not getting adequate supply.We will investigate to find out who is involved," he said.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Chong Wei On The Mark To Defend Japan Open Title

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 (Bernama) -- World number one and top seed, Datuk Lee Chong Wei started his defence of the Japan Open badminton title in style with an easy 25-23, 21-8 straight sets first round win over China's Zhu Weilun at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, Wednesday.

The Beijing Olympics men's singles silver medalist who took over the world number one spot from China's Lin Dan, took just 37 minutes to tame his Chinese opponent.

In the second round Thursday, the 24-year Penangite who beat Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat to clinch the title in 2007, would face Japan's Sasaki Sho who beat Englishman Andrew Smith in his first round match Wednesday.

Apart from Chong Wei, two other Malaysian shuttlers - Roslin Hashim and Sairul Amar Ayob - made it to the second round of the men's singles, after overcoming their respective opponents.

Roslin, losing finalist at the Taiwan Open last week, had to dig deep into his reserves to overcome Chan Yan Kit of Hong Kong 18-21, 21-19, 21-13 in three sets while Sairul swept aside fellow Malaysian Lee Tsuen Seng 21-17, 21-18 in straight sets.

In the second round, Sairul would face a daunting task after drawing second seeded Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro while Roslin faces Thailand's seventh seeded Boonsak Ponsana.

Malaysian women's number one Wong Mew Choo, the fifth seed, outlasted Japan's Yu Hirayama 21-16, 8-21, 22-20 in a three-set thriller and meets Beijing Olympic Games silver medalist Maria Kristin Yulianti of Indonesia in the second round.

A Malaysian pair also advanced into the second round of the mixed doubles competition when Lim Khim Wah/Wong Pei Tty overcame China's Shen Ye/Pan Pan 23-21, 12-21, 21-15 to earn a second round date with Indonesian pair Flandy Limpele/Greysia Polli.

Another mixed double pair, Mohd Zakry Abdul Latiff/Ng Hui Lin however went down to South Korean pair Yoo Yeon-seong/Kim Min-jung 21-23, 28-26, 21-12 in three sets.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's third ranked men's doubles pair Mohd Zakry/Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari received a bye in the first round and face South Korean pair Sung Hyun-ko/Yi Goo-kwon in the second round.


Men's Singles:

Lee Chong Wei (MAS) bt Zhu Weilun (CHN) 25-23, 23-21; Roslin Haslim (MAS) bt Chan Yan Kit (HKG) 18-21, 21-19, 21-13; Sairul Amar Ayob (MAS) bt Lee Tsuen Seng (MAS) 21-17, 21-18.

Women's Singles:

Wong Mew Choo (MAS) bt Yu Hirayama (JPN) (21-16, 8-21, 22-20; Hwang Hye-youn (KOR) bt Julia Wong Pei Xian (MAS) 17-21, 21-9, 21-16.

Mixed Doubles:

Lim Khim Wah/Wong Pei Tty (MAS) bt Shen Ye/Pan Pan (CHN) 23-21, 12-21, 21-15; Yoo Yeon-seong/Kim Min-jung (KOR) bt Mohd Zakry Abdul Latiff/Ng Hui Lin 21-23, 28-26, 21-12.


Shooting : Hasli Sets Sight On Winning Medal At 2012 London Olympics

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 (Bernama) -- National shooter Hazli Izwan Amir Hasan hopes to use whatever experience gained and lesson learned while competing in the Beijing Olympics, as a launch pad for his bid to win a medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

In Beijing last month, Hasli who qualified on merit, had hoped to finish among the top six shooters but could only manage 16th position in the men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol after gunning down 279 points.

"To make up for my mistakes in Beijing, I will have to focus on my mental strength because I was overcome by jitters when competing in front of a huge crowd," Hasli told Bernama here Wednesday.

The shooter from Ipoh said that though it was his first Olympics, he was able to learn a great deal from world class shooters, especially on aspects of preparations for competitions, before, during and after.

"To earn a ticket to London would not be easy as I must finish among the top three places in four World Championship circuits within the next four years.

"My coach Mohd Hashim Md Desa has already started preparing a program for me to start preparations well ahead of the first World Championships in April next year," he said.

The 30-year-old, added apart from the Olympics, he was also preparing for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Dehli, India.

At the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Hasli won a bronze medal in the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol behind India's Vijay Kumar and Pemba Tamang.

"My target in Delhi will be to do better than the bronze medal feat in Melbourne," he said.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Swimming : Yusuf Fails To Make It To Final

BEIJING, Sept 15 (Bernama) -- The Olympic jitters got the better of national paralympic swimmer Yusuf Dewa, causing him to fail to make it to the final in the 50m freestyle (S6 category) at the Water Cube aquatics complex here today.

Yusuf, 38, only managed to clock 35.24 seconds and finished in 13th place out of a field of 15 competitors in his heat.

"I apologise to all Malaysians. I tried my best but the pressure was just too great on me," he told Bernama.

Yusuf, who won a bronze in the same event at the Fespic Games in Kuala Lumpur in 2006, was also the last Malaysian athlete to compete in the Beijing Paralympics.

Meanwhile, national paralympic swimming coach, May Ng noted that her athletes were lacking in mental preparation.

"I think we had done the best that we could. The pressure from the other participants was great. I think Malaysian athletes need more mental preparation, especially for meets at this level," she said.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sailing : National Paralympic Sailors Second Best In Asia

BEIJING, Sept 14 (Bernama) -- National yachters Loke Sin Ying and Al Mustakim Matrin have proven their worth by registering Malaysia as the second best team in Asia with their commendable performance at the 13th Beijing Paralympic Games, Saturday.

Cruising in the Skud18, they finished sixth from 12 countries in the 2-Person Keelboat in Qingdao, Shandong province.

"Based on the results, they are now number two in Asia. They piped Singapore who trained much longer than us.

"Despite training for only three months, the duo managed to narrow the gap with more experienced teams.

"Even at the World Skud Championship in Singapore in March, they had only three hours of training. It was at this meet that they qualified for the Beijing Paralympics," said national coach Mohamed Fauzi Mohamed Mustafa.

He said Loke and Al Mustakim were also unfortunate as the boat which they used for training at the Admiral Marina, Port Dickson had to be taken from them in May to be sent to the Olympic Sailing Centre in Qingdao for the Beijing Olympics.

The boat, which was sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), was returned to them 10 days before the Beijing Paralympic Games to enable them to resume training.

Mohamed Fauzi said national sailors needed more exposure and hoped the National Sports Council would sent them to take part in international championships especially the Asian Para Games in Guangzhou in two years' time.


Powerlifting : Injured Sharifah Overcomes Pain To Equal Para Asean Record

BEIJING, Sept 14 (Bernama) -- A shoulder injury failed to douse the spirit of debutant powerlifter Sharifah Raudzah Syed Akil who eventually equalled the Para Asean Games record in the women's 82.5kg category at the Beijing Paralympics here Sunday.

The 35-year-old, managed to lift 117.5kg to finish in sixth spot and equal her own record that she had set during the Para Asean Games in Korat, Thailand early this year.

"I was very apprehensive in the beginning for fear that my shoulder injury will hamper my efforts but I am glad that I could manage a reasonable lift and considering my injury, I am satisfied with my performance," said Sharifah when met by Bernama after her event.

The gold medal in the category was won by Heba Said Ahmed from Eygpt who cleared 155kg to set a new world and Paralympics record.

In fact, as early as the first lift, Heba cleared 135kg, to equal the Paralympics record held by Emma Brown of Great Britain since the 2000 Sydney Games, and on her second lift, smashed the world record of 143.5kg held by Zhang Liping of China with a 145kg effort.

However, not wanting to be contended with smashing the world record, Heba continued to clear 150kg, 152.5kg and finally 155kg during her subsequent efforts.

The silver medal went to Zuo Jue from the host nation with a lift of 137.5kg while Mexico's Perla Patricia Barcenas managed 130kg for the bronze.

Meanwhile, according to Sharifah, she would now go back and start her focus and preparations for the next Para Games, Asian Para Games and World Powerlifting Championships.


Powerlifting : Mariappan Renews Own Asean Record In Powerlifting

BEIJING, Sept 13 (Bernama) -- National powerlifter, P. Mariappan renewed his Asean record in the men's 67.5kg category at the Beijing Paralympics here Saturday.

In the competition held at Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautic's gymnasium, Mariappan, 50, lifted 180kgs to erase his old mark of 172.5kg which he set at the Athens Paralympics of 2004.

However, despite the outstanding performance he only managed to finish eighth out of 13 competitors.

"I consider it a good result as our preparation was only for six months unlike the other competitors who trained for years," he told Bernama after the event.

The gold was won by Egypt's Mathna Metwaly Ibrahim who lifted 217.5kg which was a new Games record.

Ali Hosseini of Iran had to contend with second place after lifting 215kg while China's Wu Maoshun's lift of 200kg earned him the bronze.

Mariappan has represented the country in five Paralympiads, Seoul(1988); Barcelona (1992); Atlanta, 1996; Sydney (2000) and Athens 2004 with his best efforts being at Barcelona and Seoul where he won the bronze.


Archery : National Archers Show Marked Improvement

BEIJING, Sept 12 (Bernama) -- Despite being ousted in the men's individual recurve W1/W2 second elimination round at the 13th Beijing Paralympic Games Thursday, national archers have shown marked improvement.

"Despite not winning any medal, we are happy with Mohd Salam Sidik and Zulkifli Mat Zin's performance," national coach Johari Abu Bakar told Bernama.

He said the ability of Mohd Salam and Zulkifli collecting more than 300 points in the ranking round was commendable.

"They had never achieved the score in the qualifying rounds before. They were also beaten by a narrow margin," he said.

Johari said the team would now set their sight for the 2012 London Paralympic and the preparation would begin in January next year.

"We are taking a breather before the Armed Forces Archery Championship next month followed by the National Open Archery Championship.

"As there is no championship catered for disabled people, we have to take part in the normal championships," he said.

National archers will also take part in the World Para Archery Championship in the Czech Republic in August, next year, he said, adding that, it would be the benchmark for the ranking of the athletes.

Johari said the National Archery Association would also be grooming junior archers for international campaigns.

"We are also trying to uncover talents among women archers as we do not have many of them around," he said.


Archery : Malaysian Archers Challenge Falter

BEIJING, Sept 11 (Bernama) -- Malaysian archers campaign faltered in the men's individual recurve W1/W2 second elimination round at the 13th Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.

Eight seeded Mohd Salam Sidik went down 94-106 to ninth seeded Jung Young-joo of South Korea while Zulkifli Mat Zin succumbed to fifth seeded Cheng Changjie of China 103-108.

"I was not under pressure until the second half when I lost my focus. I tried to redeem myself towards the end of the event but to no avail. The second last arrow missed the target," he told Bernama after the event at the Olympic Green Archery Field.

Mohd Salam was three points behind after the first six arrows when he scored 47 points.

Although he found his rhythm after that and collected 27 points including two full points, Jung stayed ahead with 28 points.

A lapse of concentration in the last three arrows proved costly to Mohd Salam as he managed to collect only 20 points while Jung did better to finish the event with 106 points.

On the other hand, Zulkifli gave Cheng a good fight."I am not happy with my results although there were better than my previous record at the Athens Paralympic four years ago. I have to work harder to improve my performance," said Zulkifli.


Archery : National Archers Get Past First Elimination Round

BEIJING, Sept 10 (Bernama) -- National archers Mohd Salam Sidik and Zulkifli Mat Zin successfully concluded the first elimination round and will see action in the second round Thursday.

Mohd Salam who is ranked eighth defeated Antonio Lisotta (Italy) by 97-90 while Zulkifli (ranked 12) beat Miroslav Kacina of Slovakia 96-83.

"They have to stay more cool and if we get past the second elimination round tomorrow, our medal prospects are much brighter," coach Johari Abu Bakar told Bernama.

Thursday, Mohd Salam will meet Jung Yong-joo of South Korea who is ranked ninth in the world while Zulkifli will take on the hosts' Cheng Changjie (ranked 5th).


Powerlifter : Lee Chan Bags A Bronze For Malaysia

BEIJING, Sept 10 (Bernama) -- National powerlifter Siow Lee Chan ended a 16-year medal draught in the Paralympics for Malaysia when she bagged a bronze in the women's Under 56kg event in the Beijing Paralympics Wednesday.

Lee Chan, 37, lifted 95kgs and in the process achieved a personal best over the 92.5kgs she achieved at the Athens Paralympics in 2004 and Asean Para Games in Manila in 2005.

On hand to witness her achieving the feat was the Prime Minister's wife Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, who is also the patron of the Malaysian Paralympics Council.

The gold was won by Fatma Omar of Egypt who did 141.5kgs, which was also a Paralympic and World record. Russia's Irina Kazantseva took the silver after lifting 97.5kgs.

"I am extremely excited, absolutely thrilled. I'm satisfied with the results. I did not think too much, I just left it to God.

"I will continue to practice powerlifting and try my best to get better results next time," Lee Chan told a press conference after the medal presentation ceremony at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronauts Gymnasium.

Lee Chan had represented the country in the Sydney Games (2000) and Athens (2004) where she finished in sixth place in both.

However, Lee Chan's success could not be repeated by teammate Cheok Kon Fatt, 53, in the men's Under 52kg when he only managed eighth place out of 12 competitors after lifting 137.5kgs.

China's Wu Guojing lifted 175kg to take the gold while Osama Elserngawy of Egypt won the silver (167.5kg). Narong Kasanun of Thailand also lifted the same weight but was awarded the bronze on count back.

Kon Fatt, a veteran of the Paralympics, won the silver in the category in the Barcelona Games of 1992. It was the last time national paralympians won any medals in the Games.

National coach Ghazali Osman was elated by Lee Chan's achievement and said: "The six months of training we put in under the watchful eyes of the National Sports Council has paid off."


Athletics : No Medals But Mohd Raduan Renews Asean Para Games And National Records

BEIJING, Sept 9 (Bernama) -- National sprinter Mohd Raduan Emeari may not have finished among the medal winners in the Beijing Paralympics, but he can still walk tall, especially after smashing the Asean Para Games and National records in the 100m T36 (cerebral palsy) sprint final at the Birds Nest stadium here Tuesday.

Mohd Raduan, 26, who had just returned to competitions last month after recovering from an injury, clocked 12.64s (old record 12.69s) to finish seventh in a race that saw Ukraine's Roman Pavlyk blaze to a new Paralympics record en route to winning the gold in a time of 12.25s.

Apart from Pavlyk, the old record of 12.49s set by Ukraine's Andrey Zhyltsov in Athens four years ago, was also bettered by silver and bronze medal winners, Ben Rushgrove of Great Britain (12.35s) and So Wa Wai of Hongkong (12.38s).

"I had clocked 12.40s in training after arriving in Beijing but today I was a little tense during the final but I'm happy to have set two new records (Asean Para Games and National).

"Competition was tough, especially with the presence of world class runners from Ukraine, Great Britain, Hong Kong, China and Poland," said Mohd Raduan, winner of the sprint gold and holder of the Asean Para Games 100m T36 record that he set in Korat, Thailand early this year.

His coach R. Jeganathan said though Mohd Raduan was making his debut in the Paralympics, his spirited performance and record setting pace today were commendable.

"He had a good start but was probably overcome by jitters towards the finishing line. Our target for him here was to at least better the national mark and he managed to achieve that target.

"An injury to his heel had disrupted his initial preparations and he only started serious training last month. Considering all these facts, I am happy with his performance," said Jeganathan.

He added that the exposure to such high level competitions here would certainly do a world of good for Mohd Raduan and all the other athletes who are representing the country.

"Athletes, especially the disabled, need more of such competitions as they can learn a great deal after watching world class athletes in action," he said.


Archery : Unpredictable Weather Fails To Dampen Spirit Of Archers

BEIJING, Sept 9 (Bernama) -- Unpredictable weather and windy conditions failed to dampen the spirit of Malaysian archers Mohd Salam Sidik and Zulkifli Mat Zin who advanced to the knockout stage when archery competitions of the 13th Beijing Paralympics got underway Tuesday.

In the men's individual ranking round for W1/W2 wheelchair recurve event, Mohd Salam and Zulkifli finished in eighth and 12th positions respectively, out of 30 participants, after completing 72 arrows.

"I was very nervous in the first round but managed to regain my confidence when the second round started. It was raining and the windy conditions hampered our performances a bit but not our spirits," Mohd Salam said when met by Bernama at the Olympic Green Archery Field here Tuesday.

In the first round, Mohd Salam polled 305 points but put up a better show in the second, to collect 315 points for a two-round total of 620 points that put him in eighth placing.

He meets Italy's Antonio Lisotta, who finished in 25th place, when the knockout competition starts Wednesday.

Another Malaysian archer, Zulkifli, with 610 points finished in 12th spot and takes on Miroslav Kacina of Slovakia who finished in 21st spot.

"My performance today was below par compared to my previous best in other international competitions and I am a little disappointed but I must put today's results aside and concentrate on my task tomorrow," said Zulkifli.

Ukraine's Taras Chopyk topped the ranking round today with 636 points which equalled the world and Paralympics record held by South Korea's Lee Hong-gu since the 2000 Sydney Paralympics.

Meanwhile, national archery coach Johari Abu Bakar was pleased with the performances of his charges as both were able to shoot more than 300 points in every round.

"Based on their capabilities and performances today, I will be happy if they can make it to the semi-finals," he said.


Swimming : Zul Amirul In Tears After Failing To Win Medal

BEIJING, Sept 8 (Bernama) -- Swimmer Zul Amirul Sidi Abdullah, 26, could only shed tears after failing to win a medal of any colour for the country in the men's S5 backstroke final of the Paralympic Games at the National Aquatic Centre also known as the `Water Cube' here Monday night.

"I regret what happened tonight but it was not anybodies fault but mind, not even the coach was at fault. After qualifying for the final, I could not focus as there were all kinds of thoughts going through my mind.

"I wish to apologize to all Malaysians for not winning a medal," said Zul Amirul amidst trying to hold back tears that was already flowing freely.

But despite losing, Zul Amirul who clocked 42.94s in the final compared to 42.74s in the qualifying was satisfied with his time.

Zul Amirul had started off in style during the morning qualifying session when his time of 42.74s bettered the 42.87s he clocked during the Asean Para Games in Korat early this year.

Meanwhile, the gold medal in the event was won by Brazil's Daniel Dias with a time of 35.28s, 0.15 faster than defending champion and home favourite He Jungquan who clocked 35.43s for the silver while Hungarian Zsolt Vereczkei took the bronze with 38.78s.

Meanwhile his coach May Ng said she was satisfied with Zul Amirul's performance in the Games.

"He did the best he could but the other participants were very strong and it was a bit difficult for him to match them. The good thing is that he could maintain his time," said May Ng.

She added that another swimmer, Yusuf Dewa will be hoping to make up for Zul Amirul's loss when he competes in the men's 50m Freestyle S6 on Sept 15.


Sailing : Winds Will Be Deciding Factor

BEIJING, Sept 8 (Bernama) -- National paralympic sailors Al Mustakim Matrin and Loke Sin Ying finished in 10th place out of 11 competitors in Race 1 of the Two-person Keelboat but went on to finish in sixth position in Race 2 in the event at the Olympic Sailing Centre in Qingdao in Shandong province Monday.

"As our sailors are much smaller in size compared to their American and European counterparts, they have more difficulty in stabilising their boats when winds play havoc," their coach Zainal Masir Mat Tasi told Bernama when contacted.

According to him, the races could only begin at 3pm instead of 1pm because the winds were much too strong.

Tuesday, the duo will compete in races, Three, Four and Five.Zainal said he hoped Al Mustakim and Loke could turn in better performances.

Also on Tuesday, three more Malaysians will see action in archery and athletics respectively.

In athletics, Mohd Raduan Emaeri who was supposed to compete in 100m T36 category at the Birds Nest national stadium today will only get to do so tommorow after the event was rescheduled by the organisers.

Muhammad Salam Sidik and Zulkifli Mat Zin will take part in the ranking round in the men's recurve for the W1 and W2 categories respectively.


Spectacular Paralympic Games Opening

BEIJING (CHINA), Sept 7 (Bernama) -- A spectacular display of dazzling fireworks soared above the iconic Beijing National Stadium or the Bird's Nest Stadium, leaving 90,000 spectators spellbound to raise the curtain of the 13th Paralympic Games Saturday night.

The 11-day sports extravaganza was officially opened by Chinese President Ho Jintao.

Among those who witnessed the historic occasion were the Malaysian prime minister's wife Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob, National Sports Council director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong and Malaysian Paralympic Council president Datuk Zainal Abu Zarin.

The opening ceremony were also attended by 12 other world leaders and representatives.

They included Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, South Korea's Prime Minister Han Seung-so and Spain's Princess Infanta Elena.

The Malaysian contingent clad in the "Malayan Tiger" national jersey was led by the Jalur Gemilang flag-bearer, powerlifter P. Mariappan.

They were the sixth contingent from 148 participating nations entering The Bird's Nest Stadium. At the Paralympic Games, Malaysia is banking on 11 athletes who will compete in five sports -- archery, athletics, powerlifting, sailing and swimming.

During the opening, spectators were treated to a well-choreographed performance directed by award-winning director Zhang Yimou, the artistic maestro of the opening ceremony.

The Beijing Paralympics Opening Ceremony, named "Flying with the Dream," included about one hour of theatrical performances that centered on the concept of "sky, earth and human beings."

The magnificent performance was divided into chapters, entitled 'Journey of Space', 'Journey of Time' and 'Journey of Life'.

In the 'Journey of Space', a blind singer, Yang Haitao tells about the good wishes in the heart, and this was followed by more than 300 deaf girls performing a song in sign language about their inner feelings, manifesting the wonderful state of unity.

In the 'Journey of Time', spectators were amazed by Li Yue, an 11-year-old girl who lost her leg in the Sichuan erthquake four months ago, performing ballet.

'Journey of Life' portrays the universe through the four images of frog, seagull, cow and duck which displayed the Chinese nation's pursuit of "harmony between man and nature." It was performed by 2,000 children.

Hong Kong's top singer Andy Lau paired with local singer Han Hong to render the Paralympic Games theme song entitled, 'Flying with the Dream'.

Hou Bin, an amputee athlete and Paralympics gold medallist in athletics, lifted himself and his wheelchair up to the couldron with a rope before lighting it.

With the theme of 'Transcendence, Integration and Equality', the Paralympic Games reflects the yearning and quest of persons with disabilities to build a better world, together with other people.

Athletes will be competing in powerlifting, sitting volleyball, wheelchair rugby, shooting, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing, wheelchair tennis, goalball, boccia, equestrian, seven-a-side football, five-a-side football, judo, rowing, swimming, cycling, sailing, athletics, archery and table-tennis.

The host have received more than 4,000 Paralympic entry forms from the national paralympic committees of 148 countries and regions.


Mariappan Given The Honour To Carry Jalur Gemilang

BEIJING, Sept 6 (Bernama) -- National powerlifting athlete P. Mariappan was given the honour to carry the Jalur Gemilang at the opening of the 13th Paralympic Games here Saturday.

"I feel proud for the honour given to me," he told Bernama.

Among those who attended the opening ceremony were the Malaysian Prime Minister's wife Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, South Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-so, and Infanta Elena, the daughter of King Juan Carlos of Spain.

For Mariappan, 50, who took up powerlifting in 1980, this will be his sixth and last paralympics, the world's biggest sporting event for the disabled people.

"I've won many gold medals in other championships but not in the paralympics. This will be my target here," said Mariappan who represented the country the paralympics in Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992), Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000) and Athens (2004).

He won the bronze in Seoul and Barcelona.

A total of 11 Malaysian paralympians are taking part in five of 20 sports at the Paralympic Games here and would begin their challenge in their respective events Sunday.


Malaysian Contingent Ready For Beijing Paralympics

BEIJING, Sept 1 (Bernama) -- Malaysian athletes are ready for the Beijing Paralympics that begins this Saturday."

This is the first time that the athletes had such a long training session. They trained for six months and now they are ready for the competition," said the Malaysian contingent chief, Ng Kong Chuan, when met by Bernama.

He was met after attending the flag-raising ceremony at the Paralympics Athletes Village here today.

Also present was Malaysian ambassador to China, Datuk Syed Norulzaman Kamarulzaman.

Beside Malaysia, also honoured at the ceremony were the contingents of Saudi Arabis, Uruguay and Portugal who also checked in today.

The games village will be host to more 7,000 athletes and offcials from 148 countries.

Ng said the arrival five days early of the athletes was for them to be acclimatised to the weather.

Eleven Malaysian athletes will take part in five sports which are archery, swimming, athletics, rowing and powerlifting.They all arrived here this morning.