Thank you Bernard Chan

Letters

BERNARD Chan, I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done to my life.
You have been through most of my life journey, from sports to tertiary studies, and to work.
Long story short, I knew Bernard back in 2007 when I was still an elite athlete with a disability.
He and the PNG Paralympic Committee board members identified the athletic skill in me, and began to assist me and the whole disability sport organisation.
Bernard was and is still a very generous person and through his generosity, together with his supportive family especially Davina Chan, their assistance and mentoring resulted in me achieving the first ever Olympic/Paralympic medal won by a Papua New Guinean.
That was in Beijing, China, in 2008 that I won the silver medal.
Speaking of the race in Beijing, at the starting line of the finals of the 100m T46, guess who was the person or thing that motivated me or kept my mind busy and forget about the pressure in front of a full capacity at Bird’s nest?
It was Bernard!
I thought of Bernard.
How he and his family had supported me that far.
I was going to run and win a medal for him. At the end of the race, I won the medal not for Bernard but for the whole nation of PNG.
Thank you Bernard for being the person that kept my mind busy during those moments.
He and his family’s support did not stop there in sports.
He and the PNG Paralympic Committee had a plan after the government gave me the financial incentive that I must study and do my athletics training overseas.
So, we agreed and chose to study in Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia.
I graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce.
One special thing they did to me, were him and Mrs Chan were there as my guardians at my graduation.
It was emotional but they did not see ‘mi strongim na stap isi tasol’.
Bernard even secured a job for me with PwC through his connections and I was employed by PwC soon after my graduation.
I have now moved to Lae and work as a finance manager with one of a mine drilling company.
Bernard, Happy Birthday once again.
You are wise and have a heart for the people.

Francis Kompaon
Silver Medallist at the Beijing
Paralympics 2008

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