How Hongkonger who had arm amputated at age 12 will tackle 30km cycle
Father-of-two will ride 30km route during third annual Hong Kong Cyclothon in October and hopes to inspire other disabled people in the city
A Hong Kong cyclist with only one arm is looking to inspire other disabled people in the city to take on new challenges when he joins a 30km bike race for charity next month.
Derek Ko Chi-kin, 59, will join about 1,500 riders on the 30km route from Tsim Sha Tsui to the Nam Wan Tunnel, as part of the third annual Hong Kong Cyclothon on October 8.
The project assistant from the charity Hong Kong Network for the Promotion of Inclusive Society had his right arm amputated aged 12 after it got infected following a fall from a fence. The father-of-two, who lives in Tai Po, is no stranger to sporting competitions. He is a keen hiker and rock climber, and this month completed the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker race in Belgium.
On Saturday, he joined scores of cyclists at the Whitehead Velodrome in Ma On Shan for a timed “ride-in” test to ensure participants were fit enough to compete.
“For those of us with physical disabilities, it is very difficult,” he said. “My bike requires an adapted braking system, and the gears are moved from the right to the left side. If I can complete this race, it will be a good example for other friends with disabilities.”
Ko said he had never let his disability stop him from taking on new challenges, but admitted activities such as waterskiing and ice skating had proved too demanding for him over the years.
“I always want to try things that I have not done before,” he said.
The Cyclothon, which is sponsored by Sun Hung Kai Properties, last year raised HK$3 million for charity. This year’s proceeds will go to the Community Chest and the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong. The event also includes a 50km race, a men’s open race and a women’s open race, as well family fun rides.
Ko is among a group of disabled athletes who will participate in the 30km race.
He said he had learned to be independent soon after his accident aged 12.
“I built up my confidence,” he said. “I learned how to do everything myself.”
A spokesman for the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the event’s organiser, said the number of disabled riders had steadily increased over recent years.
“We promote this as a sport for all,” he said. “Derek, he is the perfect participant for us. We would like to see if he can bring more disabled people to the event. He is a good role model.”