Asean Para Games: Cancer survivor Tan seventh in wheelchair racing comeback

Dr William Tan, 58, a paralympian athlete, in his racing wheelchair.
Dr William Tan, 58, a paralympian athlete, in his racing wheelchair. PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Singapore para-sports pioneer William Tan marked his return to wheelchair racing with a seventh-place finish in the men's 100m - T53 final at the Asean Para Games on Saturday.

The 58-year-old was forced to give up the sport in 2009 after being diagnosed with cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

Now in remission for six years, the National Cancer Centre physician was pleased with a creditable finish among a strong field that included world No. 2 Paeyo Pongsakorn and Asian record holder Pichet Krungget, both of Thailand.

Paeyo (15.58s), Pichet (15.83s) and compatriot Intasen Sopa (16.08s) claimed the top three spots, while Tan timed a personal-best 18.77s in front of around 300 fans at the National Stadium.

The Singaporean said: "This was my big comeback. The odds were against me but I hope I gave the home crowd something to smile about.

"I always give my best. Hopefully, we have raised more awareness and respect for athletes with disabilities."