From Podium to Refugee Post: Asian Games silver medalist Lalu Muhammad Zohri returns home to Lombok

Left: Zohri sits in an evacuation post in Lombok. Right: Zohri is flooded with visitors at his newly renovated home in North Lombok. Photos via Twitter/@giewahyudi

After coming down from the high of winning a silver medal in the Asian Games, Indonesian athlete Lalu Muhammad Zohri has returned home to earthquake-stricken Lombok where he’s reportedly sleeping in a tent as an evacuee with his childhood neighbors.

Together with Eko Rimbawan, Fadlin, and Bayu Kertanegara, Zohri made it to the Asian Games 2018 podium for the 4 x 100 meter relay medal on Aug. 30.

Originally from a small village in Lombok, Zohri’s humble beginnings have made him a fan favorite of Indonesian game-watchers.

An anecdote has become famous, where he had to borrow IDR400k (US$37) for a pair of running shoes before the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Under-20 Championships in Finland—where he landed the first medal for an Indonesian athlete.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo tweeted about the 18-year-old champion on Friday.

“After winning the silver medal for the 4x100m relay of the 2018 Asian Games with three other colleagues, Muhammad Zohri has returned to Lombok, today. He wanted to see his family who were still displaced after the earthquake. Congratulations to Zohri and everyone else. Greetings to your family in Lombok.”

Like Zohri, Widodo also departed from the Asian Games before it was finished to go to Lombok.

Zohri’s family and home were apparently not injured or heavily impacted by the series of earthquakes that have been wreaking havoc on Lombok.

Pictures and video of Zohri walking through his newly renovated home—a slice of success from his victory in Finland—have gone viral on social media. Made from wood paneling, the home has proven to be earthquake resistant. The renovation was overseen by Indonesian military Commander 162 / WB Col. CZI Ahmad Rizal Ramdhani, reports Tempo.

However, it’s understood that Zohri does not want to sleep inside, but has chosen to sleep in the evacuation post of his village, Dusun Karang Pangsor, West Pamenang Village, which is in the island’s North Lombok regency, according to the Tribun News network

Photos of Zohri in his wooden home have quickly been making the rounds on Indonesian social media, showing the athlete and his house being flooded by fans.

“I was born here. I grew up here. I want to feel their pain. I want to help Lombok rise again,” Zohri said on Friday, as quoted by JPNN.

Zohri, however, won’t be in Lombok that long since he must depart soon to prepare for training for the Olympics, reports the Tribun network.

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