SIM University (UniSIM) part-time programme students Alvina Neo and Jason Chee participated in the 2nd Asian Para Games held in Incheon, South Korea, from Oct 18 to 24, and did the University and Singapore proud. This was Alvina's debut for Team Singapore, which sent a total of 53 athletes to the biggest multi-sports, multi-disability sporting event in the Asian region, while Jason was participating in his second international sporting event.
Alvina performed well at the Games, coming in fourth in the Women's 16.2 km Individual Time Trials cycling event. Born with spina bifida – a developmental congenital condition that involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord or its coverings, Alvina grew up using braces and a forearm crutch to move about. Although Alvina had to give up normal cycling when she was 14 years old due to her medical condition, her passion for the sport saw her picking up handcycling in 2011.
Alvina participated also in the Women's 48.6 km Individual Road Race, but was stopped by officials at the 5.5-lap mark after dislocating her left shoulder in the 4th of 6 laps. The Bachelor of Social Work programme student, who believes in giving back to society and aspires to be a medical social worker, is already looking forward to training hard to improve her overall fitness for a better showing at the Asian Para Games 2018 in Indonesia.
Jason, who lost his legs, left arm and three fingers on his right hand in an accident two years ago, competed in table tennis. He picked up this game when he was five years old, and took it up again six months after the accident as a form of rehabilitation, with the aid of prosthetic fingers. Just seven months later, he won a bronze medal at the 2014 Myanmar ASEAN Para Games.
In Incheon, Jason was up against the representatives from Iran and South Korea in the Table Tennis Men's Singles Preliminaries. Even though he did not win, his spirit is not beaten; in fact, he is already counting down to his next major competition – the 2015 Singapore ASEAN Para Games where he is aiming for at least a silver medal. The Bachelor of Science in Mathematics programme student hopes to be able to coach and groom youths in table tennis in time to come.
Jason shares that his never-give-up attitude and strong-willed mindset keep him going and hopes to motivate others to be like him, believing that nothing is impossible. He said: "If I fail to accomplish my goals, I just keep on trying until I succeed. I remind myself constantly that I am possible." As for Alvina, not being able to run and jump does not deter her from trying out new activities like dragon boating, swimming and mountain climbing. She said: "With each failure, I am equipped with the knowledge of the mistakes I have made, and I value the opportunity to learn from them and improve. Everyone has the potential to excel if he puts his mind to it."
Congratulations to Alvina and Jason! UniSIM is proud of you and we are confident that you will continue to inspire others with your fighting spirit and do Singapore proud.
Alvina (front) with her fellow Team Singapore mates.
Jason (left) in action against his South Korean opponent.