Paralympic fencer dreams of another golden success

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 June, 2008, 12:00am

Usually, most awards events by fashion magazines are self-congratulating borefests for people who've done nothing to deserve a prize. So it was nice to note that Jessica Magazine's Most Successful Women 2008 award last Thursday actually included Hong Kong wheelchair fencer Alison Yu Chui-yee. You wouldn't know from her walking up to the stage at the JW Marriot Hotel that the 24-year-old lost half her left leg at 13 to bone cancer. However, Yu won four gold medals at the 2004 Athens Paralympics and has her sights set on a repeat at the Beijing Paralympics.

'There are some good things about being disabled,' she suggested. 'For instance, we get 50 per cent off on car fuel. But, of course, if I could choose, I would prefer not to be disabled.'

A recent Chinese University graduate in geography and resource management, this was one rare evening Yu was excused from her intensive five-days-a-week, four-hours-a-day training. Not bad considering fencing was something her family hoped would be a simple hobby. As her proud mother told us: 'At first we just wanted her to pick up a sport like swimming so it would help her to build a stronger body. But we never thought that she would have achieved so much in fencing.'

We wish her the best of luck at a pre-Olympic warm-up competition in Poland next month.