Paralympic Torch-Bearer, Nelson Tai believes the Relay helped spread the message of peace and unity of Paralympic sport through Brazil and the rest of the world.
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Torch Relay began on 1 September and visited five cities of Brazil – Brasília, Belém, Natal, São Paulo and Joinville – before arriving in Rio de Janeiro, where IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Executive Committee member and Rules Commission Chairman, Nelson Tai, had the honour of joining the relay as a Torch-Bearer. With the excitement growing for the evening’s Opening Ceremony, Nelson’s relay segment began as he lit his torch from the flame of Dr. Bassam Qasrawi, Medical Officer of IWAS Member, the Kuwaiti Paralympic Committee.
Dr. Bassam Qasrawi (left) lights torch of Nelson Tai (right) in Recreio dos Bandeirantes, Rio de Janeiro
Talking of the honour, Nelson said, ‘This was really a life-time memory among all the excitement, inspiration and achievement in my sports life in Wheelchair Fencing.’
Nelson Tai’s involvement in wheelchair fencing dates back to his own sporting success in representing Hong Kong; most notably an individual Paralympic bronze and Men’s team Epee at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games followed by his contributions to the Men’s Sabre team gold won in Athens in 2004. Tai has since gone on to enjoy roles within the Hong Kong Federation of Handicapped Youth as well as Technical Director positions at numerous IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cups and Zonal Championships.
It was for Nelson’s long term commitment to the Paralympic movement that saw him chosen to carry the flame that would later light the Paralympic Cauldron at the Opening Ceremony in the Maracanã Stadium.
Nelson also added, ‘It’s an amazing moment in South America’s history and it was a priviledge to help spread the relay’s message of peace and unity across Brazil and the rest of the globe.’
Many congratulations from all at IWAS and the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Executive Committee on this incredible honour and achievement.