Paralympics Power of Determination

202110 m 21 sBangkok StudioHealth

Pongsakorn Paeyo has spent his life handicapped and in a wheelchair because of Polio. Born in Khon Kaen, Northeast Thailand, his disability has presented, through the power of determination, opportunity, compelling him to break world records and win Paralympic gold medals.

The day of this record breaking, gold medal winning paralympic athlete starts at 6:00 am with a 5,000m sprint. Polio got to Pongsakorn Paeyo during his infancy and within the first 2 years of his life he also lost his father leaving his mother as the sole breadwinner for him and his 2 siblings in a not so affluent community in Khon Kaen province, northeast Thailand.

His mother wanted him to attend normal school but the normal school did not want him. So, at the age of 5, Pongsakorn was sent to a specialist school for disabled children and it was whilst at school that a teacher suggested that he pursue wheelchair racing. To fully understand the phenomenon of Pongsakorn Paeyo, you need to understand a bit about Thai geography and that the Northeast of Thailand (Isaan) is the poorest region of Thailand, often with the least opportunity.

Pongsakorn took the advice and at the age of 13 he began competing. By the age of 15 he was competing internationally; Korea, Rio de Janeiro, London, Dubai and, more lately, at the Tokyo Paralympic games where he departed with a hat-trick of gold medals and a world record in the 400m T53 track event.

From his earliest memories, and despite his disability, Pongsakorn has never wanted to be a burden to his family or society. Nothing in his life has been about luck. The incredible achievements that he has made have been through practice and the power of determination. The advice that he offers reflects the principles that he lives by day-to-day; don’t be a burden on society, think positively and never put yourself down, focus on what you do and always compete to be a better version of yourself by winning over yourself.

Pongsakorn Paeyo is an inspiration for all of us to follow. His life story is a template for any potential champion to follow and shows us that with the power of determination, anything is possible.