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Record-breaking powerlifter Bonnie Bunyau Gustin among world’s top para-athletes

Powerlifter Bonnie Bunyau Gustin caps off an exceptional 2021 with a career-defining recognition by the International Paralympic Committee.

Bonnie is highlighted by the committee as one of top performers of the year, alongside 10 others athletes. 

Who is Bonnie Bunyau Gustin and what are his achievements? 

A serial record breaker, Bonnie clinched Malaysia’s first gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, held between August 24 and September 5, 2021. The Sarawakian stormed to victory in the men’s 72kg category, hoisting 228kg to establish himself as the games’ new record holder while confirming the country’s first-ever Paralympic gold medal in powerlifting.  

Bonnie also holds the current world record of 230kg, which he etched in June 2021 at the 11th Fazza Dubai Powerlifting World Cup. 

He once again exhibited dominance by emerging top with a gold medal in the men’s 72kg event at the 2021 World Para Powerlifting Championships held in Tbilisi, Georgia between 27 November and 5 December, 2021.  

The 22-year-old’s meteoric rise has been remarkable since he took up the sport aged 15, following in his father’s footsteps. Destined for greater things, Bonnie took the decisive decision to quit school in order to focus his energy on powerlifting. His father Gustin Jenang competed in Para powerlifting at the 2010 World Championships held in Kuala Lumpur.  

Making his international debut in 2017, it didn’t take long for Bonnie to discover initial success, with a memorable gold medal in the 65kg category at the 2019 World Championships. 

“I had no interest in studies. I just want to focus on powerlifting, and win medals for Malaysia,” Bonnie was quoted by The Star in 2016. 

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Hero and feature images by Hiroki Nishioka via Paralympic.org

Justin Ng
Digital Content Director, Kuala Lumpur
Often think of myself as a journalist and so I delve deeper into a range of topics. Talk to me about current affairs, watches, travel, drinks, new experiences and more importantly, the business, economics and dynamics behind it.
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