The first International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability (INAS) Awards took place in Sheffield, Great Britain, on Saturday (11 April) in an entertaining and at times emotional ceremony which saw two athletes from Hong Kong honoured.
Hong Kong’s Ka Man Wong, a London 2012 gold medallist in the women’s singles class 11 table tennis, who also won the 2014 Asian Para-Games title in Incheon, South Korea, was presented best female.
Her excellence in table tennis and contribution in local sports development were recognised by the Hong Kong Government by awarding her the Chief Executive’s Commendation for Community Service in 2013.
Compatriot Wai Lok Tang took the Best Athlete Award after impressing in the swimming competition at London 2012 despite his teenage years. At last October’s Asian Para-Games he won a silver medal and set a new Asian record in the 200m freestyle S14.
The Unsung Hero award when to Great Britain’s Paul Burns MBE. Burns retired as Great Britain’s Athletics Team Manager in 2014 after 12 years in the role – during which time he coached and managed many athletes to international success in INAS competition.
To conclude the evening three people were inducted into the INAS Hall of Fame which recognises lifetime achievement.
The three were former Presidents Bernard Atha CBE (Great Britain), Jos Mulder (The Netherlands) and Dr Bob Price (Great Britain) – in honour of their outstanding efforts to promote sport globally for athletes with an intellectual disability over a combined 25 year period.
Amaury Russo, INAS President, congratulated all the finalists and winners: “Sport for athletes with an intellectual disability does not enjoy the same media profile as other areas of para-sport so I am delighted that INAS has introduced these awards to honour and recognise the outstanding achievements of athletes and those who work behind the scenes.”