Former Sukma gold medalist Chong Cheng Tat makes comeback as para-athlete in 2024 Sukma Games

Para-athlete Chong Cheng Tat (right) is all smiles as he poses with his coach and mentor, Mathew Chin.

By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, May 29: Former Sarawak Malaysia Games (Sukma) 2000 gold medalist athlete, 44-year-old Chong Cheng Tat, is set to make a remarkable comeback in the 21st edition of the 2024 Sukma Games.

This time, he will compete as a para-athlete, showcasing his determination and resilience.


After about a year of rigorous training despite his physical condition, Chong is confident that he can secure medals for Sarawak in the two track and field events he will participate in during Sukma 2024.

“I will be competing in the F34 classification category of the discus and shot put events at Sukma 2024. This sport classification is for athletes who have weak limbs, particularly lower limbs,” Chong explained.

He noted the irony that this would also be his last game, as he has reached the age limit officially sanctioned for the competition.

Chong’s physical condition was affected after he fell ill in 2020 while working as a sales personnel in Singapore.

The illness significantly impacted his movement, prompting his return to Kuching to focus on rebuilding his health over the past two years.

Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah (left) looks on as Chong uses special equipment to practice his shot put.

In 2023, Chong decided to regain his competitive spirit and contacted his former coach, Mathew Chin, who is now the chief coach for Sarawak para-athletes.

Coach Chin had initially discovered Chong’s athletic talent when he was 13 years old, helping him become a competitive athlete in the Malaysia Games (Sukma) of 1996, 1998, and 2000.

“I want to prove that I can still contribute to Sarawak and achieve something for myself despite my current physical condition,” Chong stated.

As a former competitive track and field athlete, Chong represented Sarawak in shot put and hammer events, achieving his dream of winning gold in the 2000 Sukma Games and breaking the game record.

His record lasted for ten years until it was broken by another talented Sarawakian athlete, Jackie Wong, in 2010.

Chong shared that his experience as a competitive athlete has instilled in him the mentality and strength needed to succeed.

Although he had to adjust his approach due to his current physical condition, he remains confident in his abilities and aims to win gold in both events for Sarawak.

“I am ready and confident despite my physique. I aim for gold and hope to see myself on the podium with the Sarawak anthem playing,” Chong said.

He expressed gratitude to the Minister of Women, Childhood, and Community Well-being Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah, the Sarawak Sports Council, Coach Chin, and his family for their support in helping him get back on his feet.

Chong’s comeback is a testament to his resilience and dedication, inspiring many with his unwavering spirit to overcome challenges and achieve greatness once again. — DayakDaily