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Learning to love life again, one step at a time

By Dara Wang | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-31 08:44

Learning to love life again, one step at a time

Heinrich Popow, a Paralympic gold medalist from Germany, runs with Irene Yu Kuk-ying, who lost a leg in an accident at age 18. [Photo/China Daily]

The team hadn't gone far before Fung discovered a crack between his prosthesis and the sole of his hiking boot. He had walked about 40 km, but there was still a long way to go.

"I had to go all the way to overcome my limitations. Though my performance wasn't as good as I'd hoped, after that, I had to continue," he said, recalling how he trekked over peaks and through valleys for more than 200 kilometers with his prosthesis held together with glue and tape.

As an experienced racer, Fung said determination is a big factor, but there is much more. To compete hard, racers need systematic training, learning to stretch themselves to the edge of their limits, but pace themselves to stay within the limits.

"The more I train, the more I trust my prosthetic leg. Amputees are like other people in sports - they need training and sportsmanship," he said.

Running gave Fung a new life. He, his wife and their friends called their team "Five Legs Never Quit". Not only did they stay the course, they returned to China and completed a long march across the Gobi Desert in Northwest China last month. They also plan to compete in next year's Desert Crossing in Chile.

Fung said that once he got back into running, he couldn't stop. Yu has continued to run every day since the workshop.

Yu conceded that running can be painful. "Amputees suffer from friction between the stump and the prosthetic limb," she said, adding that she endures the discomfort and continues to exercise.

"As long as I can run, I will keep running. It is a way for me to train my body and mindset and live in a respectful way. It's become an essential part of my life."

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