KUALA LUMPUR: As the world celebrates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Paralympics bowler Choo Kam Chan has proven that disability is not a hindrance to achieving one’s dream in life, as long as one perseveres and has faith in oneself.
Kam Chan, who has won many medals for Malaysia, attributed his achievements to not giving up easily and his strong urge to be independent despite being partially blind.
“When I was 17 years old, I was sent to a special school in Setapak. Since I stayed in Jinjang, I had to stay at the school hostel, ” said the 45-year-old.
“My mum would always accompany me to the hostel on Sundays... we had to take two buses and the journey took us almost two hours.
“My mum then had to travel home on her own but one day, I decided not to burden her anymore. That’s when I started to become independent, ” he said.
Kam Chan said after completing his studies, he tried to get a job to support his parents, but faced numerous rejections due to his visual impairment before finally landing a job as a masseur.
His first involvement in bowling was at the 1999 International Blind Sports Federation Tenpin tournament in Singapore.
“I went on my own and used my own savings to get there. I wasn’t representing Malaysia then because at that time, there was no such thing as bowling for the blind, ” he said.
“The tournament became one of my fondest experiences as I emerged champion in the singles.”
He went on to pick up gold medals at the 2006 Far East and South Pacific Games in Kuala Lumpur, 2010 Asia Games in Guangzhou and the 2017 Para Asean tournament in Kuala Lumpur.
Kam Chan, who was recruited by the National Sports Council in 2006, expressed disappointment with the cancellation of the 2020 Asean Para Games.
“Our squad have been training hard for it since last year, it is sad that it had come to this, ” he said, adding that he would continue training while managing his massage parlour.
Named “Relax Two Traditional Blind Massage”, Kam Chan is assisted by four staff, who are also visually impaired. — Bernama