THE BEST OF ASIA: CHAN HO YUEN (HONG KONG)
Para badminton player Chan Ho Yuen, also known as Daniel Chan, is one of the Hong Kong’s best para badminton athlete’s and is Hong Kong’s No. 1 wheelchair badminton player. Worldwide, he is ranked #2 in the men’s singles Wheelchair 2 (WH2) category.
In 2008 during Chinese New year’s, Chan was involved in a car accident which resulted in the amputation of his left leg. In an interview with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), this is what he said after the incident: “I still remember when I first woke up. I was in the ICU (intensive care unit) and then I saw my doctor. I asked him in English, ‘Have I lost my legs?’ and he told me that I had lost one leg. Then I joked, ‘But I’m still alive, right?’ and he said yes.”
Chan considers this period his “dark age” because of the sudden challenges that he faced due to the accident. “It was definitely difficult getting through that. I was 22 and it should have been the best time of my life. Instead, I had become a man with a disability. There were times when I could not even look at myself in the mirror and refused to accept that I was that person,” he said in an interview with BWF.
But with his own strength and determination, and in addition, being surrounded by a strong support system consisting of his family, wife, friends and more, Chan began to build himself back up mentally, physically and emotionally as a person and as a new athlete. Para badminton, according to Daniel, saved his life.
“Badminton saved my life. As I became better, I remember thinking that even though I have a disability I have a value. I focused on training and getting my body stronger. That helped me gain more confidence as well. Finally, I felt like I could stand up again”, he shares with BWF.
Because of this strength and perseverance, Chan quickly became one of the most talented para badminton athlete’s in the world. He’s competed in many international tournaments from Canada to Turkey, Australia and more. In 2018, Chan made history at the Australia Para Badminton International. He defeated Korea’s Kim Jungjun, who was undefeated since 2012! Kim is one of Chan’s greatest rivals in the sport, but one born out of respect and admiration.
Chan is more than excited to participate in this year’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. It’s a dream come true for him, after all the hard work he’s done in order to reach the heights that he’s in right now. “Being the first ever Paralympic gold medalist in Para Badminton has always my dream. And I will stay very calm. For me, the most important thing is to show my best performance on that day” he tells asianparalympic.org.
This is a dream that’s going to come true very soon for him. He will represent Hong Kong next week at the games and will make his own history. It’s not been easy, he says: “Ten years ago, I tried to tell some of my friends and family I’d like to be the first in the Paralympics. Half of them thought I was crazy and it was impossible. But I’m going to achieve it.”
We’re inspired by Chan’s spirit and mentality. We wish him all the best of luck at the Paralympic Games. We hope that he will be able to achieve one of his greatest dreams: bringing home a Paralympic medal.