WHEELCHAIR fencer Cheung Wai-leung broke the junior athletes' dominance of the Nike-HKSI Athlete of the Month Award on the strength of his success at the Italian Invitation Wheelchair Championships. Student athletes had been winning the award for the last three months. Middle distance runner Maggie Chan Man-yee won it in January, squash player Rebecca Chiu Wing-yin in February and swimmer Heidi Wong Hoi-tik in March. Wheelchair-bound Cheung, a senior station officer of the Fire Services Department, is also the first disabled athlete to win the award since it was introduced last November. He was picked the winner on the strength of his performance at the Italian tournament in which he lifted the gold medal in the men's foil individual class IV event, which attracted 56 competitors from 13 countries. Cheung, nominated by the Hong Kong Sports Association for the Physically Disabled, said he was not concerned whether he was the first disabled athlete to win the monthly award as long as his efforts were being recognised. 'People may think disabled athletes take up sport for fun, but I can assure you that we have to train as hard as a normal athlete,' said the 35-year-old, who lost one of his legs during a rescue operation 12 years ago.