As the only wheelchair badminton player in Hong Kong China, Chan Ho Yuen Daniel could not have been more excited when BWF announced tournaments will resume next month in the lead-up to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“It’s been long enough. I’m looking forward to seeing the performance level of my opponents and also to test all that I’ve been working on this past year such as new tactics and skills,” said Chan, the men’s singles Wheelchair (WH2) world No.2.
“I need to think about how to balance focusing on my game while following the safety protocols. The successful Asian Leg (of the HSBC BWF World Tour) in Thailand in January makes me feel better.”
The biggest worry for Chan is the policy in Hong Kong China that anyone entering the country is subject to a 21-day quarantine in a hotel room.
“For a wheelchair player, it’s really difficult to keep your body in good physical condition in a hotel room for 21 days. Therefore, our team needs to consider which tournament is worth going to.”
Chan may be missing the competition arena but he has kept himself busy running his charity “Happy Together With Everyone”.
“I started about two years ago but people are more urgently in need of help now because of the illness and unemployment, especially those with disabilities. We support these needs by raising funds and providing other necessities. I also wish to bring them hope, through my experience as an athlete, by pushing myself more to achieve that Paralympic gold and show the possibilities life has for us. My simple message is ‘hard work pays off’.”
Chan is confident of his Tokyo dreams, aiming for the top of the podium in his category, although he knows it will be a tough battle against opponent and friend, the world No.1 Korean Kim Jungjun.
“Kim called me the other day. We don’t speak the same language but had a good laugh and understood each other.”
That’s the other thing Chan misses – the camaraderie and friendships within the Para badminton community.
“I appreciate what the International Paralympic Committee and the government of Tokyo are doing to ensure the Games go smoothly and are safe for everyone,” he said.
“It looks like it will be a silent tournament because spectators are only allowed to clap but not shout and cheer, but that’s fine. I’ll be happy just to get there, get on court and face my opponent.
“I want to show the world what we can do. How we use our limited body to do unlimited things.”