Tokyo 2020 Paralympic gold medallists Tomoki Sato from Japan and Chinese sprinter Xiaoyan Wen were voted the Best Male and Best Female Athlete at the third edition of Asian Awards that was announced virtually by the Asian Paralympic Committee over one week.
Award winners were announced in seven categories – Best Male Athlete, Best Female Athlete, Best Youth Athlete, Best Team Performance, Best Photography, Exemplary Asian Official and Asian Order.
The 31-year-old Sato produced a brilliant show at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games clinching two gold medals in men’s wheelchair T52 400m and 1,500m races.
Thanking APC President Majid Rashed and all APC members for the votes, Sato promised to defend his title at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. “I will keep doing my best to make my dream possible. I will win the gold in Paris 2024 setting world record,” said the Dubai 2019 world champion.
Meanwhile Wen, who was incredible at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics winning three gold medals in women’s 100m, 200m and Long Jump T37 events, said she was very honoured to receive the award.
“Sports enabled me to pursue my dream, become the better me and help me deeply understand the true meaning of sports – to convey emotion and passion, dignity and harmony. With the motto of Hearts Meet, Dreams Shine, let’s meet at Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games, shoulder the same hope and same mission,” said the five time Paralympic and four-time World champion.
Wen’s younger compatriot Jiang Yuyan, the Chinese Para Swimming sensation, was awarded the Best Youth Athlete for her exploits in Tokyo 2020 Paralympics where she took two gold medals.
“This award means both encouragement and high expectation to me. All hard work is worthy and I will aspire strive to make new achievements at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games and Paris 2024 Paralympics,” said the 17-year-old who is a three-time World champion.
Korea’s Tokyo 2020 gold medallist boccia mixed BC3 pairs comprising Jeong Ho-won, Kim Han-soo and Choi Ye-jin took the Best Team Performance award while their coach Gwang Taek Im was awarded the Exemplary Asian Official.
Asian Order to three recipients
The Asian Order was presented to three recipients for their contribution to the Paralympic Movement in Asia. Dr. Deepa Malik, NPC India President; Ms. Lesley Fung, APC Games & Sport Development Committee Chair and Ms. Zhao Sujing, APC & NPC China Vice President were awarded the prestigious honour this time.
“This honour means a lot to me. It is my continued endeavour to focus on the growth of Paralympic sport. Sports is the biggest medium of bringing about a positive change in the society and I want to continue to align with the vision of APC to promote parasport, create accessibility, also change mindsets and empower people with disability through sports,” said Dr. Malik, the Paralympic Committee of India President thanking APC and PCI for their support.
Acknowledging the confidence of APC President Majid Rashed, its Executive Board and the guidance of Hong Kong Paralympic Committee & Sports Association for the Physically Disabled secretary general Martin Lam, Ms. Fung said this Asian Order Award meant a lot to her.
“I will take it as an encouragement and motivation for me to continue to learn, do my best and play my part in the Paralympic Movement, especially in the Asian region.”
South Korea’s Jae Gun Jung was voted the Best Photography Award for his photo capturing the bittersweet emotion of Taekwondo fighter Joo-Jeong Hoon at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Congratulating the winners, APC President Rashed said: “These athletes and officials have been exemplary in their respective fields. Their performances and works have inspired and motivated many and contributed hugely to the growth of the Paralympic Movement in the region. Many congratulations to all of them.”
Rashed also acknowledged the efforts of the NPCs who have supported their athletes and paved their way to success.