PETALING JAYA: National artistic gymnast Chau Jern Rong dislocated his knee before the last SEA Games in December. The pain was too much to bear and the fire in him was gone.
But after some hard-thinking over the last three months, he has found a new fire. The lithe, muscular man is now running a steamboat restaurant.
Jern Rong, a team silver medallist at the Kuala Lumpur Games in 2017, has decided to call time on his 10-year service with the national team and is just excited to begin a new adventure in his life.
It was a tough decision but the fear of further injuries has led the 22-year-old to say goodbye to his teammates comprising Jeremiah Loo Phay Xiang, Tan Fu Jie, Zul Bahrin Mat Asri and recently promoted juniors Mohd Sharul Aimy, Luqman Al-Hafiz and Ng Chun Chen.
Jern Rong joined the National Sports Council (NSC) junior programme in Bukit Jalil when he was 12 years old.
“Bukit Jalil has been my home for the last 10 years. There have been ups and downs but I’ve enjoyed every part of it, ” said Jern Rong, who also won the high bar gold at the 2017 Hong Kong Open.
Jern Rong said his injuries had hampered his progress and it was the reason behind his decision to quit. “The long break during the movement control order gave me time to think about my future. I’ve suffered four serious injuries over time and it has made me feel afraid during training, ” said Jern Rong.
Despite the dislocated knee, he still went to the Philippines SEA Games to compete in the qualification round.
“My knee problem started in 2014 and I was down with an ankle injury too. Last year, the knee acted up again. The pain is unbearable sometimes. Not many are able to understand the situation, ” said Jern Rong.
“I’m unable to perform my best because of the fear. So I have decided that it was best that I stop gymnastics altogether although I will miss it very much.
“Battling injuries all these years however has made me strong – not only as a gymnast but in life generally. I can face anything.”
That strength was what made him decide to start his own restaurant with his father Chau Kin Cheng @ KC Choy in Klang. The official launch of the Peak Steamboat and Cafe took place yesterday.
“My dad has had health issue before and I could not be with him because of my gymnastics career. Now, I can spend more time with him and run this steamboat restaurant together with him, ” said Jern Rong.