Singapore

Para-athlete jailed 5 years over drugs

A man who overcame his disability to become a champion para-athlete was sentenced to five years in jail for drug offences on Friday (May 20).

Muhammad Firdaus Nordin, 28, was also sentenced to a mandatory five strokes of the cane, with the judge saying it is for the prison service to certify him to be unfit for caning.

Firdaus, known as the fastest man in a wheelchair in Singapore, was found guilty of trafficking methamphetamine. He also pleaded guilty to taking the same drug in January last year, saying it was to help him get in shape for the 8th Asean Para Games, held here in December.

When he was 13, Firdaus, who was born with spina bifida, raced in the National Junior Disabled Games in Australia in 2001, clinching one gold and two silver medals, and also breaking a Games record.

Four years later, he won two golds, one of which was for the men's 100m race, and one silver medal at the third Asean Para Games in Manila in 2005. He has since won medals in a string of international events.

In the early hours of Feb 2 last year, police stopped a car driven by Firdaus' cousin Hamza Jubir in Bedok. Three packets of methamphetamine were found tucked between Firdaus' jeans and boxer shorts. His urine later tested positive for the same drug.

In his mitigation, defence lawyer Peter Fernando said: "Firdaus has clearly learnt a very serious lesson and there is absolutely no reason for him to reoffend. He has by sheer determination proven to be a man capable of achieving great heights in wheelchair racing."

In sentencing him, Judge Lee Poh Choo noted his age, medical conditions and achievements.

Firdaus showed little expression as his sentence was passed, but relatives, including his mother, wept in court. He was led away in his wheelchair, handcuffed.

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