Kuala Lumpur: The curtain of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games has fallen, with fireworks lit up the sky during the closing ceremony of the Paralympics at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday.
Para athletes have started to return to their countries – and for some, lucrative prize money awaits when they get home.
Malaysia’s Cheah Liek Hou who made history by becoming the first Malaysian to win a badminton gold medal at the Paralympics will receive an RM1 million (USD $241,167) reward as promised by Malaysia’s Sports Victory Prize Scheme (SHAKAM) following his success in the SU5 category.
In addition to the RM1 million reward, Cheah will also receive an additional incentive of RM100,000 (USD $24,116) from FWD Takaful.
The 33-year-old said that he will donate part of the bonuses to charity.
“I will donate some money to charities that need financial assistance. This is something that I have been planning for a long time,” said Cheah to Malaysian media.
Cheah defeated World No. 1 Dheva Anrimusthi of Indonesia 21-17, 21-15 in the final to emerged champion in the SU5 category.
The six-time world champion described the achievement as something special in his career.
“I want to dedicate this success to my coach Datuk Rashid who sacrificed a lot to train me. He was willing to leave his family for three months, staying with me to undergo training at MSN (National Sports Council),” said Cheah.
“I would like to also thank my family especially my mother (Jap Joe Tjin) and my wife (Dewi Febriana), as they did not complain about anything during my absence to make preparations for the Paralympic Games,” added Cheah.
“Let’s not forget the MSN and KBS (Ministry of Youth and Sports) who gave a lot of support to me. If it wasn’t for them who paid Datuk Rashid’s salary to train me, I cannot achieve everything I could possibly achieve,” explained Cheah.
In fact, according to Cheah Liek Hou’s coach, Rashid Sidek, who had served as the head coach of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and coached the country’s leading players including former world number one champion, Lee Chong Wei, told Malaysian media that he just wanted to help Cheah, and money was not the most important part of the deal.
“I am sincere to share my knowledge with him, not everything is about money. It gave me satisfaction when seeing the players I coached give 100 percent commitment in the training and during the match,” said Sidek.
“I am really happy that we have achieved what we have worked for and targeted,” added Sidek.
“Liek Hou’s performance in the final was so remarkable that he bounced back after a lackluster performance in the semi-final match which took place in the morning. He was indeed fully focused in the final match against Dheva,” explained Sidek.