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Jakarta Post

Asian Para Games: Ni Nengah aims to sharpen skills for 2020 Paralympics

  • Callistasia Anggun Wijaya
    Callistasia Anggun Wijaya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, October 8, 2018   /   11:02 am
Asian Para Games: Ni Nengah aims to sharpen skills for 2020 Paralympics Ecstatic: Indonesian Ni Nengah Widiasih celebrates after winning the silver medal in the women’s 41-kilogram para powerlifting event at the 2018 Asian Para Games at Balai Sudirman hall in Jakarta on Sunday. The gold medal went to Zhe Cui of China. (INAPGOC/Agoes Rudianto)

Having lost the ability to walk at 3 years old, Ni Nengah Widiasih, now 26, grew up to be a fighter who takes on any challenge with the mind of a champion.

The Balinese got involved with para powerlifting in the sixth grade. She has since become one of the world's best powerlifters. 

In 2016, she won a bronze medal in the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — an achievement that made her fellow Indonesians proud.

On Sunday, Ni Nengah won a silver medal at the 2018 Asian Para Games, after lifting 97 kilograms. She lost to China’s powerlifter, Cui Zhe, who lifted 100-kg. 

Read also: Asian Para Games: Indonesian powerlifter Ni Nengah wins silver

With her eyes on winning a gold medal in the future, Ni Nengah expressed her sadness for finishing as Asia’s second-best. However, her frown was turned upside down as vowed to perform better in future events. “My disappointment will motivate me to do better in the future. I will improve my technique and learn from my failure today,” she said during a post-match conference on Sunday. 

In 2019, Ni Nengah will compete in several competitions, including the world championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, and the qualification rounds for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

While previously competing in the women’s 45-kg category, Ni Nengah competed in the 41-kg category for the Asian Para Games.

After competing in the 2018 World Para Powerlifting Asian-Oceania Open Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan, in early September — in which she won a silver — Ni Nengah adhered to a strict diet to compete in the 41-kg category.

She said she believed that she had a stronger chance to win a gold medal in that class compared to the 45-kg class, as she would have to challenge world record holder Guo Ling Ling of China.

Ni Nengah, who weighs 40.42-kg, however, had to swallow a bitter pill and settle for the silver medal after failing in her second and third attempts to lift 101-kg.

She did not use her injured right shoulder as a pretext for her defeat, as gold medalist Cui was also injured. Ni Nengah said Cui performed better.

“Even though I only got a silver today, I’m not disappointed about competing in a lower class as I tried my best,” she said.

Ni Nengah has yet to determine whether she will compete in the 41-kg or 45-kg class in the future. In both categories, she is the second-best powerlifter after Chinese Guo and Cui, respectively.

Even though she has a higher chance at earning gold in the 41-kg class, Ni Nengah maintain a strict diet is challenging, she said.

She is awaiting the results of the Tokyo Paralympics qualifications to see which category she will compete in.

Ni Nengah went on to thank her coaches and family for their support. 

“My family always supports me. They never make me feel like I’m different,” she said.

Yanti, Ni Nengah’s coach, said she would keep motivating the powerlifter. “She will keep practicing because athletes shall not stop training. After this, she will be in training camp to prepare for the Philippines’ ASEAN Para Games,” Yanti said.