The Asian Paralympic Committee held the second edition of the Asian Awards at a Gala Dinner in Dubai where the Asian Paralympic Committee’s 5th General Assembly was taking place.
The evening started with two Asian Orders being presented to Dr Tetsuo Suyama from Japan and Mr Martin Lam from Hong Kong. The Asian Order is presented to those the APC considers have made an outstanding contribution to the Paralympic Movement in Asia. Suyama was awarded in recognition of his efforts in leading the APC Sports Science and Medical Committee for over 16 years and Lam was honoured not just for his work with his home NPC but also for his work across the region to promote the Paralympic Movement.
The Asian Awards categories recognise outstanding achievements from athletes, teams, officials and photographers.
Best Female Athlete went to Hong Kong Fencer Yu Chee Yui in a tough category that included top Paralympic athletes like Iran’s Sareh Javanmardi (para shooting), China’s Yujiao Tan (powerlifting) and Bahrain’s first female Paralympic gold medallist shotputter Fatema Nedham. It was Yu Chui’s consistency over the years and her wider contribution to the Paralympic Movement, not only as an athlete but as chairperson of the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Athlete Council and a member of the IPC Education Committee, that impressed the judges.
“Firstly, a big thank you to the Asian Paralympic Committee for giving me this award. I would also like to thank the Hong Kong National Paralympic Committee because, without their support, I cannot play wheelchair fencing and would never get this award here. I have been to Dubai many times and every time, it’s a surprise,” Yu Chee said receiving her award from His Excellency, Mohamed Al Hameli, President of NPC UAE.
“2018 was a really wonderful year. Because we had the Indonesia Asian Para Games and I won five medals and also, I was the flag bearer for Hong Kong in the opening ceremony. I am very happy to get those results which makes me a tough contender for this Best Female award.
“I believe this award will bring me luck for the rest of 2019 as today is the first day of the Chinese New Year. For wheelchair fencing, the qualification competition has already started for Tokyo 2020 and I believe with the luck and my hard work, I can qualify and win medals in Tokyo as well,” said one of the biggest Paralympic stars from Hong Kong.
Winner of the Best Male athlete award went to Mohamad Ridzuan from Malaysia. The track and field athlete who competes in T36 classification sprint and long jump events. he cliched three gold medals at the Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games in 100m T36, 400m T36 and long jump T36 events breaking the world record in the 100m in the process.
Hagar Safarzadeh Ghaderijani won the award for the Best Youth Athlete, having impressed the judges with her rapid progression from two world junior titles in 2017 to clinching three Gold medals at the 2018 Asian Para Games. The 18-year-old thanked her family and the Iran Paralympic Committee for their support. “I really want to take part in Tokyo 2020 and secure a medal for Iran,”
The Chinese Women’s Basketball team won the Best Team category for their not just for the gold medal that they won at the Asian Para Games in October 2018 but also for their performance at the 2018 World Championships where they narrowly missed out on the bronze medal but did secure an additional slot for the Asia-Pacific region at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The Exemplary Official Award was given to Yukio Seki from Japan for his contribution to World Para Athletics development in the region. He thanked the APC for recognising the work that Technical Officials do.
Best photography went to Mr. Reza Joshghani from Iran whose winning shot captured the jubilation of the Iran’s Men’s Wheelchair Basketball team at the Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games where they won the Gold medal in the dying seconds of the match.
Closing the Awards Ceremony, which were shown live on Dubai Sport TV, APC President Mr Majid Rashed congratulated all the winners and said that the Awards were an important part of helping to promote the Paralympic Movement in Asia. He thanked all the NPCs who had nominated athletes and said the strength of competition showed how Asia is developing.