So Wa Wai (Chinese: 蘇樺偉; Jyutping: sou1 waa4 wai5; born 6 October 1981) is a retired athlete from Hong Kong who has competed in the Paralympic Games on five occasions, winning 12 medals. So Wa Wai is called the "Wonder Boy" (Chinese: 神奇小子; Jyutping: san4 kei4 siu2 zi2) by the people in Hong Kong.
|Born||6 October 1981|
British Hong Kong
|Height||178 cm (5 ft 10 in) (2012)|
|Event(s)||100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres|
So was born with jaundice which affected both his hearing and the balance of his limbs, and hence competes in the T36 classification for athletes with cerebral palsy. At the age of 10, his enthusiasm for running was noticed by athletics coach Poon Kin-lui, who then began to formally train So.
Over the course of the next two summer Paralympic Games, 2000 in Sydney and 2004 in Athens, So won four gold and two silver medals in a range of individual events, up to a distance of 400 m, as well as two bronze medals in relay events.
In 2008 So was chosen to be part of the torch relay as the Olympic flame passed through Hong Kong on its way to Beijing. However, his participation in the games themselves was put into doubt when an injury to his father rendered him unable to work. So was forced to give up his training and take up a full-time job to support his family. Help with his situation came from Andy Lau, a Hong Kong entertainer and the singer of the Beijing Paralympic Games official theme song "Flying with the Dream", who gave him a full-time job with the flexibility to allow him to train for the Games.
At the 2008 Summer Paralympics games, So led the Hong Kong team into the Bird's Nest Stadium during the opening ceremony as the flagbearer. During competition he first won a bronze medal in the 100 m, a performance with which he was disappointed, and followed this with a sixth place in the 400 m. In the 200 m T36 final he broke his own world record with a time of 24.64 seconds on the way to winning the gold medal, making him the Paralympic champion in that event for the third successive occasion. After the race he said he had been ill before the competition and that "During the first part of today's competition I did not run at my normal speed", he attributed his win to both "good luck" and "practice".
So announced the news of his retirement from athletics in January 2016.
So is the current world record holder in both the 100 and 200 m men's T36 classification.
- "Athlete Biography: SO Wa Wai". Beijing2008.cn. The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. Archived from the original on 12 September 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
- "A-Z of Paralympic classification". BBCSport. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
- "So Wa-wai -- 'Forrest Gump' of Hong Kong wins 100m T36 bronze". Beijing2008.cn. The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. Archived from the original on 12 September 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
- "So Wa Wai". Paralympic.org. International Paralympic Committee.
- "Torchbearer So Wa Wai hands over the flame to equestrian Nelson Yip Siu-hong". Beijing2008.cn. The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. Archived from the original on 6 September 2008.
- "Beijing Paralympic theme song shows love for life". China Daily.
- "2008 Summer Paralympics: Opening Ceremony - Flagbearers List" (PDF). Paralympic.org. International Paralympic Committee. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 September 2008.
- "Official results of men's 200m – T36" (PDF). Beijing2008.cn. The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 September 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
- "So Wa Wai wins Men's 200m T36 gold medal". Beijing2008.cn. The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. Archived from the original on 21 September 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
- "HK veteran breaks world record to take Paralympics gold". China Daily. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
- Lee, Edmund (11 August 2021). "Zero to Hero movie review: Hong Kong Paralympic champion So Wa-wai's life spawns a touching sports comedy". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 24 August 2021.