Paraplegic shows heart of champion in Lion Rock feat

December 12, 2016 11:44
Lai Chi-wai, seated on his wheelchair, celebrates his conquest of Lion Rock on Dec. 9, the fifth anniversary of a terrible car accident that rendered him paraplegic. Photo: Facebook/Chiwai Lai

It was the biggest blow in his life.

On Dec. 9, 2011, Lai Chi-wai, the winner of an Asian rock climbing championship, met a car accident that rendered him paraplegic.

Because of the injury, Lai lost sensation and movement of his legs.

For his family and friends, that meant he could no longer do the one thing that gave him much pleasure and sense of achievement -- climbing heights.

But not for Lai. Instead of wallowing in misery, he decided he would not allow adversity to stop him from pursuing his dream.

Exactly five years after the accident, Lai, 33, beat the odds and conquered Lion Rock Mountain, Headline Daily reports.

His injury would have devastated other climbers, but Lai saw it as a challenge.

With the help of his teammates, he continued to train to improve his rock climbing skills.

The birth of his son only inspired him to pursue his passion.

In 2014, when he was chosen as one of Hong Kong’s 10 outstanding young people, Lai vowed to climb to the top of Lion Rock, an announcement that raised much concern among friends and loved ones as it was something that hadn't been done before.

On Dec. 9, on the fifth anniversary of his terrible accident, Lai, strapped to his wheelchair, relied on the upper part of his body – his arms and hands – and his indomitable will to carry him through what many considered an impossible task.

An outpouring of felicitations swamped his Facebook page where he posted photos of his arduous climb up the unforgiving rock, and his eventual success.

Netizens, touched by Lai's achievement, said he embodied the “spirit of Lion Rock”, which has come to symbolize Hong Kong's can-do spirit in the midst of adversities.

Chung Kin-man, a consultant at the China Hong Kong Mountaineering and Climbing Union, said Lai must have gone through a very tough training and used a different set of methods and equipment to accomplish the feat.

A rock climbing coach told Sky Post that he had never imagined one could climb Lion Rock while strapped to a wheelchair since the degree of difficulty of the mountain is so high that even a professional would need at least four hours and a lot of training to be able to do so.

Lai showed that he has the heart of a champion in accomplishing an amazing feat, he said.

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Lai relied only on the upper portion of his body and his indomitable will to climb up the unforgiving rock. Photo: Facebook/Chiwai Lai