Asean Para Games: Paddler Jason Chee the odds to strike gold in KL

Jason Chee celebrating yesterday after beating Thailand's Thirayu Chueawong in the last match in a round-robin tournament to clinch his first individual gold medal at the Asean Para Games.
Jason Chee celebrating yesterday after beating Thailand's Thirayu Chueawong in the last match in a round-robin tournament to clinch his first individual gold medal at the Asean Para Games.PHOTO: FOO TEE FOK/SPORT SINGAPORE

Four months after losing his right eye, para-table tennis player Jason Chee defied the odds to win a gold medal yesterday at the Kuala Lumpur Asean Para Games.

The 34-year-old navy serviceman underwent surgery in May to remove his right eye after he was diagnosed with choroidal melanoma, a cancer of the eye. He returned to training in June. "This gold mattered the most to me. I have waited so long to win the gold, and I am relieved. It is a blessing."

Life has been tough on him. His mother died of kidney failure in 2011 at age 65, and a year later, he lost both his legs, left arm and three fingers on his right hand due to an accident at work on board a ship.

Through it all, including his latest injury setback, Chee has been a picture of stoic defiance.

At his third Games, he beat all four competitors in the men's singles Class 2 round-robin tournament to claim his first individual title. It was also Singapore's ninth gold in Malaysia.

He had won a bronze in the TM1-3 team event on Wednesday.

 

At the 2015 Games in Singapore, he won an individual silver and a team gold. He won a team bronze at the 2014 edition in Myanmar.

Chee and the rest of his team-mates will return to Singapore tomorrow afternoon.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2017, with the headline 'Paddler defies the odds to strike gold in KL'. Print Edition | Subscribe