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So Wa-wai -- 'Forrest Gump' of Hong Kong wins 100m T36 bronze

Updated:2008-09-09 21:42:24
So Wa-wai -- 'Forrest Gump' of Hong Kong wins T36-200m bronze
So Wa-wai (R) wins the bronze in Men's 100m T36 on Tuesday. (Photo credit: Xinhua)

(BEIJING, September 9) -- So Wa-wai of Hong Kong SAR claimed the bronze in the Men's 100m T36 on Tuesday at the Bird's Nest.

"I am not very satisfied with my performance today. I stood at lane 9, which I was not used to, which affected the pace of my steps. So I am a little bit depressed. But I am looking forward to winning my best event, the T36 200m race, on September 15," he said after his 100m run.

The 26-year-old athlete, a gold medalist in three Paralympic Games, is also the world record holder of the T36 class of the Men's 100m and 200m. In 1996, So won his first Paralympic gold medal in the 4x100m Relay race in Atlanta. Since then, he has collected four gold, two sliver and two bronze medals, as well as setting three world records in subsequent Paralympic Games.

So Wa-wai -- 'Forrest Gump' of Hong Kong wins T36-200m bronze
So Wa-Wai celebrates winning the Men's 400m T36 during the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

So was born with jaundice, which affected his listening and the balance of his limbs, but even as a child, he was keen on running. When he was 10 years old, his enthusiasm for running was discovered by coach Poon Kin-lui, who took So under his wing for formal training. Five years later, their hard work was rewarded for the first time with a gold medal in the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games.

The runner almost missed this year's Paralympic Games, for his father, the bread-earner of the family, was injured on the job, and So was forced to work to support the family. It was Andy Lau, a famous Hong Kong celebrity, who gave So a full-time job with the freedom to train at any time. Thanks to Lau, So was able to continue his training to prepare for the Beijing Paralympic Games.

Facing the realities of life and pursuing his athletic dreams have greatly helped So nurture good characteristics and broaden his mind. Support from society has also motivated his sense of responsibility to help and encourage people with disabilities.

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