NG WEI HAU was all smiles at the 2nd National Taekwondo Poomsae Championships at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall yesterday.

He kicked and punched his way through the pugilistic routine to pick up a gold in the Yellow 8 category for 21-year-olds and above.

He was also presented with the Best Fighting Spirit Award.


BRAVE HEART: Tan Wei Hau, 21, receiving the Best Fighting Spirit award at the Poomsae Championships yesterday – two days after being discharged from hospital. Tan has been fighting brain cancer since 12. — ST PHOTO: EDWIN KOO

Nothing surprising as the 21-year-old has been battling brain cancer since the age of 12.

Then, he was given just six months to live, but fought against the odds to prove his doctors wrong.

His participation in the Poomsae championships, which involve performing a set of arranged movements incorporating attacking and defensive strikes, had earlier been in doubt.

He was down with fever for the past two weeks and was discharged from the hospital only on Friday.

Ng had to be helped onto the mats owing to his weakened condition. The crowd roared him on.

He said: ‘I was very excited. There were so many people. I am very happy to be able to perform.

‘Taekwondo has given me more strength, more willpower and fighting spirit to fight my cancer.’

Poomsae was introduced to the Assisi Hospice in November 2006 by Singapore Taekwondo Federation president Milan Kwee.

He felt that the training would not only make the patients more confident but also provide them with another avenue to express themselves.

Ng, a member of the hospice, decided to take it up purely out of interest.

It took his dad, Ng Hee Seng, by surprise.

‘I was not aware that he had taken up the sport. I laughed when I first saw him in his gear as I was so surprised,’ Ng senior said.

Poomsae has certainly done much for the cancer patient.

He managed to get off his wheelchair within six months of picking up Poomsae, a variant of taekwondo, which is relatively new in the local scene.

It is somewhat similar to tai chi, but more vigorous and forceful.

A total of 13 participants from Assisi Hospice competed.

Calling themselves ‘Assisi Warriors’, they amassed an impressive total of 12 golds, three silvers and one bronze.

Sister Linda from Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood also stood out.

She won gold in the above-51 age category and is the only nun in Singapore with a black belt.

Chris Ong, 75, was the oldest participant.

‘It feels good to be back and meet up with old friends,’ the black-belt holder said.

Written by Soh Kai Wee (The Strait Times)