The young table tennis star is one of four recipients of the 2021/22 Kurt Fearnley Scholarship which will help support the Para-athlete towards qualifying for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Rising table tennis star Junjian ‘Jessy’ Chen has identified the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as the next big target in his promising table tennis career.
It has been a difficult journey to this point for the latest recipient of the Kurt Fearnley Scholarship.
In 2006, when he was 16-years-old, Jessy’s family moved from southern China to the Solomon Islands.
Anti-Chinese violence arose shortly after the family’s arrival, which saw Chinese businesses targeted, with families being set upon in brutal racist attacks.
During a violent invasion of the Chen family home, Jessy suffered savage wounds to his neck and back in a machete attack.
The then-teenager had a heart attack from blood loss, and his spinal cord was damaged, with spinal fluid seeping onto the floor.
When Jessy regained consciousness in hospital three days later, he was paralysed from the waist down.
After spending a year in a hospital bed, Jessy and his family made a decision to move to Australia to help with his rehabilitation and live in a safer environment.
In 2016, when he visited a rehabilitation clinic in Sydney, Jessy found a table tennis table which quickly ignited a passion for the sport.
“I was in the rehabilitation clinic [and saw the table] and that was the first time to try table tennis,” Jessy said.
Jessy, a class 3 wheelchair player, has not only found solace through his sport but has quickly elevated through the ranks to become one of the best players in the Oceania region.
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At the 2019 ITTF Oceania Para Championships, Jessy won gold in the singles class 3-category.
He then went on to win four titles at the Australian Para National Championships, setting him on a path towards the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and excited to have the Kurt Fearnley Scholarship to help him achieve this goal.
“I am looking forward to the support from Kurt and the New South Wales Institute of Sport for my table tennis,” Jessy said.
“I thank Commonwealth Games Australia and the Carbine Club.”
The Games are providing the motivation to continue training hard with his sport and continuing to improve.
“I enjoy my sport… it is something that I like to do and [the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games] keep motivating me to move forward and to push myself,” Jessy said.
The Birmingham Games will feature the largest Para-sport program in Commonwealth Games history, including the men’s classes 3-5 event, Jessy’s category where he is working towards having an opportunity to test himself against some of the world’s best Para-Table Tennis players.
Receiving the Kurt Fearnley Scholarship will assist Sarah in her journey towards the Games.
The Kurt Fearnley Scholarship is a joint venture between Commonwealth Games Australia and the Carbine Club of NSW.
KURT FEARNLEY SCHOLARSHIP CONTINUES TO SUPPORT NEXT GENERATION OF PARA-SPORT STARS
Commonwealth Games Australia and the Carbine Club of New South Wales welcome the next class of Kurt Fearnley Scholarship recipients who are targeting the upcoming Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.READ MORE
The Carbine Club has a proud tradition of supporting junior sport in New South Wales and the Kurt Fearnley Scholarship furthers this commitment to best enable the latest four young Para-sport athletes to reach their goals of representing Australia at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Evoking the spirit of the Carbine Club, which celebrates sporting endeavour and thus recognises that winning is important, but grace and courage also matter.
Traits which have been exhibited by the four deserving young stars in the latest class of the scholarship initiative, Para-sport young stars like Jessy Chen.
Commonwealth Games Australia are thrilled to have Jessy Chen as part of the Kurt Fearnley Scholarship Program and are excited to follow along as he chases his sporting dreams and ambitions.