Jason Chee lost both legs and one arm – in a navy accident.
Shariff Abdullah Peters was born without a left foot.
And Dr. William Tan has been paralysed from the waist down since the age of two.
But Jason won a bronze medal in table tennis at the Asean Para Games earlier this year. Shariff returned to last year’s terrorist bombing site at the Boston Marathon in April to successfully complete his 42km run.
Dr Tan will attempt to handcycle 500km through the English Channel Tunnel next month.
These are all disabled sportsmen, who have made a success of themselves, despite their physical limitations. They have used their determination and willpower to succeed.
Living life to the fullest
Today, these athletes live life to the fullest. Take Jason for example. He zips around in his wheelchair, constantly going around giving motivational talks – and encouraging others in similar situations.
Said Jason, “You must be a positive person. Never give up. Be determined and show strong will power.”
He is also a skillful cook – a skill he inherited from his late mother. Often, Jason spends up to five hours in the kitchen, preparing, chopping and cooking hearty meals for his father and himself.
His yummy delights include steamed chicken wings and drumlets, steamed minced pork meat, sweet and sour pork and curry chicken.
Cooking with only two fingers on his remaining arm is truly an amazing feat that Jason has mastered well.
Does the shopping and housework
The table tennis player also does the weekly grocery shopping by himself – without any help. The shopping bags are placed on top of his wheelchair table as he whips in and out of stalls, and then back home from the market.
Jason also zips around in his wheelchair – doing the housework at home. He hangs up the laundry and then slips the clothes off the bamboo poles, with the deftness of a full-time homemaker.
Born without a left foot
Shariff is another truly determined and motivating person. Said the runner, “Do your work, and like me, you can achieve your dreams.”
Having been born without a left foot, Shariff was bullied at school and unwanted by his relatives. He was even tossed from one relative to another, as nobody had wanted to take care of a child with his disability.
Did not wallow in self-pity
But instead of letting this get him down and wallowing in self-pity, he used these experiences and rose above the troubles of his childhood – to prove that he is capable of the same things that an able-bodied person can do.
Today, he is an inspiring motivational speaker and well-known as the Singapore Blade Runner.
Immersed himself in his studies
Dr Tan is another Paralympian who has managed better than even non-mobility-impaired people.
Struck down by polio as a two-year-old and paralysed from the waist down, Dr Tan figured that if he didn’t have his legs, at least he had two working arms and a working brain. So he immersed himself in his studies and eventually won scholarships to two of the world’s top universities – Harvard and Oxford.
Proved himself further through sports
And at the same time, Dr Tan participated in sports to prove himself further. By taking up wheelchair racing and handcycling, he has graced some of the world’s leading marathon events, such as the London and the Boston Marathons.
As well, he has also done arduous races such as the North Pole Marathon and the Antarctic Ice Marathon – in his wheelchair.
He is also the holder of world records, such as being the fastest man to complete seven marathons on seven continents – which he achieved within 27 days.
But in 2009, Dr Tan suffered another further setback. Doctors told him that he had less than 12 months to live – when he was diagnosed with leukaemia. But Dr Tan continued to rise above the odds – and he is still thriving in both the academic and sporting scene today.
Now, his upcoming project will be his biggest yet. Having now fully recovered from leukaemia, this Paralympian will handcycle 500km through the English Channel Tunnel.
Running 42km to support disabled athletes
As a Sundown Marathon Charity Ambassador, I am running 42km to support the disabled athletes.
To help disabled people achieve their sporting dreams and become more independent in the process – like Jason, Shariff and Dr Tan – do support the Singapore Disability Sports Council.
You can do this by simply making a donation to http://www.giveasia.org/
Your contributions will be greatly appreciated
No matter how small, your contributions will be greatly appreciated. 100% of your donations will go to the Singapore Disability Sports Council.