PENANGITE Cheah Liek Hou proved that age is no barrier when he claimed a straight set win against a younger para-badminton player, clinching the gold medal in the men’s single SU5 event of the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan, two months ago.
Cheah, 33, went against Dheva Anrimusthi, 22, from Indonesia, and won the final in straight sets 21-17, 21-15. The victory made him the first Malaysian athlete to win a para-badminton gold medal for the country in the Paralympic Games.
The para-badminton debuted in the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Despite suffering from SU 5 (standing / upper limb impairment) since the day he was born, Cheah was not discouraged by his disability, but strived to achieve greater success in life.
Speaking to Buletin Mutiara, Cheah said that it was a dream come true for him to take part in biggest sporting arena.
“I was overwhelmed with joy after the match. I just couldn’t believe that I have won.
“The road to success was not easy. It was full of challenges.
“My coach and mentor, Datuk Rashid Sidek, was instrumental to my achievement. I have been training consistently under his guidance.
“My family has also been very supportive and it encourages me to do well.
“The journey was tough but my perseverance helped me to get through,” he said.
Cheah mentioned that he managed to keep his weight in check.
“I lost 20kg from my initial weight of 93kg.
“We need to monitor our weight and flexibility in this sport (badminton).
“I managed to lose my weight by taking healthy meals and undergo proper training sessions.
“My coach has been a strong motivator to me. He advised me to focus on my training and not to be distracted by my surroundings,” he said.
Cheah said that he is now spending some quality time with his family and enjoying his other hobby, cycling.
“I will return back to training soon as I am looking forward to the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris,” he said.
Earlier yesterday (Nov 20), Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, state Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee, Air Itam assemblyman Joseph Ng and Penang State Sports Council (PSSC) director Harry Chai had a sharing session with Cheah and Rashid. The session at City Bayview Hotel lasted for about 30 minutes.
Chow offered his words of encouragement to Cheah and congratulated him for his success. He also praised Rashid for being a good coach and mentor to Cheah.
Rashid said Cheah’s mental grit was the main factor which contributed to his success.
At the end of the event, Cheah presented a badminton racquet and his jersey to Chow.
Source: Buletin Mutiara