First para-athlete completes Around The Island sailing race in Hong Kong

First para-athlete completes Around The Island sailing race in Hong Kong

Foo Yuen-wai took part in the Around The Island sailing race

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The first para-athlete has completed the Around The Island sailing race in Hong Kong.

Foo Yuen-wai was left paralysed after suffering polio as a child but has now completed the 26-mile course. It took him 16 hours, 11 minutes and 24 seconds.

He was also travelling on the smallest boat, which he named The Kaplan, and was alone. Roughly 1,400 people took part in the race on 230 boats, according to The South China Morning Post.

After completing the race he commented: “I really enjoyed it, even though it was really hard work on the course especially where there were a lot of waves more than two metres high."

He also explained that para-athletes usually have a more defined course, mapped out with a series of buoys and markers, which means it is easier to plan the journey. So "for me it was the toughest race of my life because most of the things were strange and new to me.”

The man learned about sailing from a charity which gives disabled people both boats and training, Sailability Hong Kong.

Speaking at at the Hong Kong Yacht Club Foo said: “I want to tell everyone that even if you’re like me, sitting in a wheelchair for a long time, you can sail, even on a single-handed boat, operating everything by yourself."

He added that "anyone can do anything" and people shouldn't decide not to sail only on the basis that it is hard.

Foo now hopes he will be able to take part in the Paralympics. Sailing has been cut from the event but he is hopeful that the sport will be reinstated for the Games in 2024.