A painful ordeal

  • Athletics
  • Friday, 29 May 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Choked with emotions, national hammer thrower Jackie Wong Siew Cheer described the pain he had to suffer in the 73 days that he spent in hospital before being finally allowed to leave. He spoke of accusations against him and his father and of malicious rumours that they had spread the virus. And contrary to reports that he had tested positive eight times out of nine, he revealed that he had tested negative four times.

But strongman that he is, the 27-year-old vowed that he would be back, better than ever.

In an eight-minute Facebook livestream, Jackie said the pain was never physical because he remained fit throughout.

“I believe there are no side effects of the virus and I am looking forward to returning to training at the National Sports Council (NSC) in Bukit Jalil with my coach Gu Yuan and teammates.

“I am optimistic that I will be back at my top form and will go on to do well in competitions.

“I know that it will take some time for me to recover my full strength but I believe I can do it,” said Jackie, who bagged silver in the Philippines SEA Games last December. He also holds the national record of 68.22m.

However, the pain of the accusations have obviously hurt him.

“None of it is true. Stop spreading rumours about my family as it has hurt me and my family,” he said in a choked voice.

“It was a challenging time for me and my dad (Sarikei MP Wong Ling Biu), who is still in hospital. I pray that my dad will recover soon and be discharged,” said Jackie, who was admitted to hospital on March 16, a few days after his father fell ill.

“I was tested negative four times. Yesterday (Wednesday), I had my blood test taken. According to the doctor, the reason why my tests came back positive was because of the fragmentation of the virus,” said Jackie.

“But the hospital’s release sheet said that I was no longer infectious.

“The virus will not endanger my life nor will I pose a danger to others. It means I will not spread the virus to others.

“During my stay in the hospital, I was kept in an isolation ward and was advised to focus on my treatment. My family members were not allowed to visit me but they prayed for me. I spent a lot of time praying, too.

“The media have been asking me what I did for the 73 days. I prayed after breakfast and I would watch videos of me in training and videos of other athletes,” said Jackie.

“I watched the videos to stay in touch with the throwing techniques. After a nap in the afternoon, I would do workouts in the evenings for two hours through video calls with my coach Gu Yuan.

“The coach helped me to make sure I had the right technique in throwing the hammer,” said Jackie, who also thanked the hospital staff, the NSC and National Sports Institute for all the help they had rendered.

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