JUST a few days ago, Lalu Muhammad Zohri was not a name that many Indonesians knew. Today he is perhaps the most popular athlete in the country.
The 18-year-old sprinter won the men’s 100 metre final at International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland on Wednesday, edging out the United States’ Anthony Schwartz and Eric Harrison with a time of 10.18 seconds.
A press release from the IAAF said that Lalu “proved once again that it’s always unwise to discount those further afield.”
What a historical moment!
— IAAF (@iaaforg)
“I will party tonight!” Lalu was quoted by the IAAF as saying.
Witness the proud moment of Lalu Muhammad Zohri who took the gold medal for the 100m men’s sprint in the U-20 World Athletic Championship in Finland. pic.twitter.com/nLU2Ebuulr
— MoFA Indonesia (@Kemlu_RI)
“I’m very happy with my PB and national junior record. Now, I will prepare for the Asian Games next month. I’m so proud – this was an amazing experience and this is great for my career.”
Lalu Muhammad Zohri is the first Indonesian to win Gold for 100m men’s sprint in the U-20 World Athletic Championship in Tampere, Finland! The 18-year-old Indonesian sprinter crossed the finish line in 10.18 seconds! Catch him if you can at #AsianGames2018! #EnergyOfAsia pic.twitter.com/q50KBXWvnW
— Asian Games 2018 (@asiangames2018)
Lalu Muhammad Zohri proved once again that you should never underestimate the dark horse. The 18-year-old offered 🥇 as the first EVER medal to Indonesia 🇮🇩 at the U20 #IAAFworlds.
— IAAF (@iaaforg)
Lalu was personally congratulated by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who tweeted that the victory showed “Indonesia can provide surprises.”
Berlomba bukan sebagai unggulan, Lalu Muhammad Zohri membuktikan: Indonesia bisa memberi kejutan. Ia JUARA DUNIA lari 100 meter di kejuaraan dunia atletik IAAF U-20 di Finlandia, kemarin.
Selamat untuk prestasi yang membanggakan! pic.twitter.com/9ELML2jwCO
— Joko Widodo (@jokowi) July 12, 2018
According to the Indonesian news portal Detik, Jokowi has ordered the ministry of public works to help renovate the runner’s family home in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara – one of the poorer provinces in the country of 260 million.
“I think not only me, but all the people of Indonesia would be happy and proud,” the president was quoted as saying.
“Thank you to the Indonesian president and all the people of Indonesia for their support and prayers,” Lalu said.