Laureus World Sports Awards, Best Sporting Moment December nominees: Lai Chi-wai's resilience

On 9 December 2011, Lai Chi-wai was driving his motorcycle home when he was struck by two cars and thrown onto the road. The car accident left the then professional rock climber, who was once ranked eighth in the world, paraplegic. “I lost everything in one night. I fell from heaven to hell,” Lai, now 34, recalled. At the time of the accident, Lai’s wife was in the same hospital, heavily pregnant with their son.

“My son is the only reason I chose to live on. I want to stand up, hold him in the air and do things that other ordinary dads can do,” Lai said. Such a devastating injury would be enough to dampen anyone’s spirits. But Lai refused to leave the sport he loved behind, and after three months in the hospital, he began working as a full-time coach for the Hong Kong sports climbing team.

In 2014, when Lai was selected as one of Hong Kong’s 10 most outstanding people, he announced his plan to climb Lion Rock in his wheelchair — something that many thought was impossible. And on 9 December 2016, Lai Chi-wai fulfilled his promise and became the first paraplegic to climb all the way to the granite top of Lion Rock. “Breaking news, wheelchair discovered on Lion Rock,” the young athlete wrote on his Facebook page, “I want to show others the Lion Rock spirit. Nothing can stop us if we put our mind to it!”

Today, he continues his career as a motivational speaker: “You dare to dream and dare to try — do not let your body limitation discourage you from doing what you love to do.”

Laureus World Sports Awards have been in existence for the last 17 years, with the first Laureus Awards held in 2000. Other than the Laureus Best Sporting Moment, Laureus announces its awards in eight different categories, some of them being: Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year.

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Updated Date: Dec 12, 2017 12:36:01 IST