On December 9th, 2011, champion rock-climber Lai Chi-wai suffered a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. On the same day, five years later, he climbed Hong Kong’s iconic Lion Rock once again, this time in a wheelchair.
33-year-old Lai Chi-wai is a four-time winner of the Asian Rock Climbing Championships, but on a faithful day, five years ago, his promising athletic career seemed to be over, following a devastating motorcycle accident. “When I woke up, I was already in the hospital and had been operated on. The staff told me … I was paralyzed from the waist down and would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life,” the young rock climber recalls.
For his family and friends, the tragic outcome of the accident meant that he could no longer do the one thing that truly gave him a feeling of fulfillment – climbing heights. But despite losing the use of his legs, Lai Chi-wai wasn’t ready to give up on his passion. After recovering from the accident, he took up wheelchair boxing, a relatively new sport that he claims improves mental focus and physical fitness of paraplegics and increases their confidence, but he also continued to train with his old mountain climber friends.