Thirty two year-old Junjian (Jessy) Chen represented Australia in the Australian Para table tennis team at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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.

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.

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 is excited to have the Kurt Fearnley Scholarship to help him achieve this goal.

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.