Asharq Al-awsat English https://aawsat.com/english Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper http://feedly.com/icon.svg

In Wheelchair, Paraplegic Lai Chi-Wai Climbs up Skyscraper in Hong Kong

In Wheelchair, Paraplegic Lai Chi-Wai Climbs up Skyscraper in Hong Kong

Sunday, 17 January, 2021 - 06:15

Lai Chi-wai became the first in Hong Kong to climb more than 250 meters of a skyscraper while strapped into a wheelchair as he pulled himself up for more than 10 hours on Saturday to raise money for spinal cord patients.


The 37-year-old climber, whose car accident 10 years ago left him paralyzed from waist down, could not make it to the top of the 300 meter-tall Nina Tower on the Kowloon peninsula.


"I was quite scared," Lai said. "Climbing up a mountain, I can hold onto rocks or little holes, but with glass, all I can really rely on is the rope that I'm hanging off."


The event raised HK$5.2 million ($670,639) in donations.


Lai, prior to 2011, was crowned Asia champion four times for rock climbing and at one point ranked eighth globally.


After his accident, he resumed climbing by attaching his wheelchair to a pulley system. Five years ago he ascended the 495-meter high Lion Rock mountain, a local folk culture symbol of Hong Kong's strength and grit.


"Apart from just living, I wondered what drives me? So I began to chase that, knowing that there was a possibility I could climb mountains, even in a wheelchair," Lai said.


"In a way, I forgot that I was a disabled person, I could still dream and I could still do what I liked doing."


Although he did not make it to the top of the skyscraper, due to safety concerns, Lai hoped to send a message.


"Some people don't understand the difficulties of disabled people, some people think that we are always weak, we need help, we need assistance, we need people's pity," Lai said.


"But, I want to tell everyone, it doesn't have to be like that. If a disabled person can shine, they can at the same time bring about opportunity, hope, bring about light, they don't have to be viewed as weak." ($1 = 7.7538 Hong Kong dollars)


Editor Picks

Multimedia