SINGAPORE - Para table tennis player Jason Chee announced his engagement to his girlfriend of three years, Nonie Marasigan Dumas, over social media on Monday (June 15).
The 37-year-old navy serviceman, who lost both legs, his left arm and three fingers on his right hand in a naval accident in 2012, could not comment when contacted on Monday night.
According to his Facebook page, the couple were engaged on March 1 this year.
Chee is a familiar face for many Singaporeans, who followed news of his horrific accident and recovery closely in the months after.
A year after the accident, he started swimming, bowling, shooting and hand cycling to aid in his recovery before deciding to focus on table tennis, a sport he had competed in when he was a student.
At the 2015 Asean Para Games (APG) held in Singapore, he narrowly missed out on his first individual gold in the men's singles after losing to Thai rival Natthawut Thinathet in the final.
Two years later, he was hit by another setback just four months before the 2017 APG, when he was diagnosed with choroidal melanoma, a cancer of the eye. After undergoing surgery to remove his right eye, he struggled with his game due to the loss of some peripheral vision and depth perception.
But he persevered and dug deep, winning the coveted gold medal in Kuala Lumpur with a perfect 4-0 record in the round-robin singles contest.
His efforts were also rewarded a year later when he was named the 2017 Straits Times Athlete of the Year.
Late last year, Chee withdrew from the APG squad bound for the Philippines to focus on attaining a degree in mathematics at the Singapore University of Social Sciences.
His engagement announcement on Facebook was met with over 200 messages of support and congratulations from friends and members of the local sports fraternity.
Para shooter Aishah Samad, who befriended Chee after contacting him on Facebook in 2012, called him immediately after hearing the news.
“I’m so happy for him...I met his fiancee once at an event and she’s nice,” said Aishah, 47, who lost all four limbs after contracting a bacterial infection in 2012.
“I wished him and said, ‘May the engagement last till marriage and may he always be happy’.”
National paddler Feng Tianwei, whom Chee regards as his table tennis idol, added on Tuesday: “I want to tell him congratulations and I wish him happiness and good health.
“I hope his table tennis skills get better and better... If he works hard towards his goal and dreams, he can definitely achieve it.”
Many ST readers also took to social media to wish him well, including Sebastian Goh, who commented on ST’s Facebook post on Chee’s engagement: “May happiness be forever with you. I am super impressed with your determination and willpower.
“You are an awesome example to all.”