Hong Kong – Troubled by the cold and dizzy with giddiness, Lai Chi-wai hit his helmet to be alert again and again.
As he sat in his wheelchair, he tried to make Hong Kong’s skyscraper with a rope, after which he pulled out his hand.
At 800 feet, however, the gusts grew strong, tirelessly. The wheelchair started to spin. Mr. Lai, a former champion rock climber who never feared heights, began to fear for his life.
After swinging in the air for about an hour, he stopped the climb, just a few minutes from his goal. He was overwhelmed with disappointment. But in the process, he inspired a city surrounded by political turmoil and an incredible epidemic and raised more than $ 700,000 for charity.
During an interview on Monday, 38-year-old Mr Lai noticed that workers had removed the ropes and anchors he had used for his ascent with the glass facade of the 1,050-foot Nina Tower – as many as the Eiffel Tower two days earlier. Tall building.
“Looking up, I can see the unfavorable conditions I have encountered and feel fear and helplessness because I was suspended midair,” he said. “I also saw how close I was to reaching my goal.”
Mr. Lai said that he exceeded his expectations of his strength, flexibility and decision-making during his 10-hour climb. Still, he said, “I didn’t expect that I wouldn’t be able to finish when I had some strength left in my body. I have no excuse for giving up as an athlete.”
Mr. Lai is a four-time winner of the Asian Rock Climbing Championship and once finished eighth in the world in sports. He was paralyzed from the waist down nine years ago following a car accident.
To continue climbing, he climbed in 2016 in his wheelchair, Lion Rock, a mountainous ridge representing the spirit of Hong Kong under adverse conditions.
A skyscraper became his next target. He demanded, as he said, “to express the lion rock soul in an urban jungle”, “constantly climbing up”.
He began his climb on Saturday morning under blue skies and gentle winds. But by mid-afternoon, strong winds were locking the ropes on which they climbed. Their wheelchairs were stoned, sometimes posing a risk of entering the building.
He climbed over two dozen stories as the explosion continued even after bursting for five to 10 minutes, and stopped opening the ropes.
At 800 feet, as the wind beat him steadily, his arms swung and his bandaged fingers became smart with blisters. He also felt a drop in his body temperature. A team of supporters and rescue team sent him a message on his walkie-talkie asking if he wanted to stop.
A few days after he had found time for this effort, he said, the climbing scenes still littered on his head, which kept him awake at night. Back at the skyscraper on Monday, his fingers were raw, so he only used the tip of his thumb to spin the tires of his wheelchair.
As of Monday, his efforts have helped raise $ 735,000 for research on robotic exoskeletons for patients with spinal cord injuries.
Well-wishers praised him online. But many saw it as an unimaginable feat of endurance, for him, the dream of an incomplete dream.
“I can only accept this version of events,” he said. “But as an athlete, I don’t know that this is the best ending. I do not have it closed yet. I am still looking for answers. “