Meet The Humble 100-Meter Gold U20 World Champion From Southeast Asia
To some, a parents’ prayer means the world, and this is exactly the case with young Indonesian sprinter Lalu Mohammad Zohri, who rocked the 2018 IAAF U20 World Championships by clinching the men’s 100-meter gold medal in Finland on July 11 after clocking 10.18 seconds.
Zohri, 18, comes from a humble family of farmers and fishermen. He was born and raised in Pemenang Barat village in North Lombok, some 60 kilometers from the West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) provincial capital of Mataram.
His father, Lalu Ahmad Yani, died last year, while his mother Saeriyah passed away in 2015. Zohri had three older siblings, but one of them is also dead.
Neighbor Muhammad Amir, 56, revealed that his good friend Yani once said he had been praying for Zohri to become a world star. The father’s prayers were answered in Tampere, Finland, on Wednesday.
The sprinter is known as a passionate kid to his family and friends. Proud older sister Baiq Fazilah, 29, said her brother was a quiet person, who would always find his own solution to his problems.
“[Zohri] is a really good kid. We are very proud to see him become the world champion,” Fazilah said on Friday.
However, with his underprivileged background, Zohri never enjoyed the luxury of proper training.
Fazilah said the runner did not have any shoes. “He never asked for much. He trained barefoot because he didn’t have shoes.”
As can be seen his hard work has paid off . With his talent and endless work, Zohri made his way in the world by moving to Mataram in early 2016. In the province’s capital, Zohri enrolled in NTB’s educational and training center for students (PPLP), while attending SMA 2 state senior high school.
Ever since moving to Mataram, Zohri has been living in a dormitory, and since the passing of his father, his house has lain empty, as his two siblings work on another island, Gili Trawangan.
Meanwhile, NTB Youth and Sports Agency head Husnanindiaty Nurdin explained that Zohri’s talent was first spotted in 2015.
“We saw his potential when he was competing in a provincial level race in Mataram. We immediately approached Zohri and off ered him a spot at the PPLP,” she added.
In 2017, Zohri started on his new path as a national athlete, said Husnanindiaty. “Zohri is like a diamond that we found in Lombok.”
As Zohri’s victory went viral, various parties began to pay attention to the athlete’s well-being. Several officials paid a visit to the athlete’s house to provide support.
The Jakarta Post observed that Zohri’s humble house is in a poor state. It is made of wood and plywood and patched up with woven bamboo.
In response to this situation, Wira Bhakti Military Regional Command (Korem) chief Col. Ahmad Rizal Ramdhani said the Korem, which oversees NTB, would liaise with the regional administration and the police to help renovate the house. Ahmad added that the military would offer him a job as soon as he graduates from high school.
In Palembang, South Sumatra, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said he had ordered the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry to build a house for Zohri in NTB.
In Jakarta, Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi made a phone call to Zohri as witnessed by the press. Imam congratulated the sprinter on his achievement and hoped for more.
In response, Zohri, who will compete in the upcoming Asian Games, said: “God willing, I will.”
Source: The Jakarta Post