GG2023 Champion Chen Po-Yen Eyeing For Gold at Paris 2024

At just eighteen years old, Chen Po-Yen is poised to shine on the global stage as he prepares for his Paralympic Games debut at the Paris 2024. Unlike his peers, this exceptional teenager secured his spot in Paris last year by clinching victory in the II1 Men’s Singles event at the fiercely competitive 2023 Virtus Global Games in Vichy. 

The Global Games 2023 served as the ultimate battleground for elite athletes like Yen, where skill, determination, and unwavering spirit were put to the test. Overcoming many of the ITTF’s top-ranked Class 11 opponents, Yen faced off against Makajew Maciej from Poland in the finals and secured his significant 3-0 victory (11-8, 11-8, 15-13) which secured him a place for Paris 2024.  

The ITTF’s fifth-world rank holder hails from Taiwan and draws strength and support from his close-knit family, including his devoted parents and older sister, who have been unwavering in their encouragement. 

Fortunately, Yen has never allowed his impairment to limit his ambitions, crediting his sister for igniting his passion for table tennis. 

I developed an interest in sports because my sister used to play table tennis during her childhood.I developed an interest as I watched my sister play from the sidelines. I love table tennis because I think the posture of playing table tennis is quite cool.  

Chen Po-Yen at GG2023 after winning II1 Single’s match (L) and flaunting his ticket to Paris 2024 (R). Photo credit: T.NGUYEN

Po-Yen received his international eligibility with Virtus in May 2022, which opened doors for him at the international elite para-sports competitions. Driven by a relentless work ethic, Yen dedicates long hours to training in the gym, honing his skills under the guidance of his coach, Wei Chun-Ta. Despite facing challenges in understanding certain tactics, Yen’s determination and perseverance have been unwavering, propelling him towards excellence. 

Since Chen doesn’t have physical or visual impairments, his regular training is the same as mainstream athletes’, including immediate tactics and physical training. There are no significant differences. However, Po-Yen’s training requires a bit more repeated practice than usual athletes.” said Chen-Po’s coach, Wei Chun-Ta, who has been training him since 2019. 

 Sometimes he may have some difficulties understanding certain immediate tactics, so he needs to repeatedly practice over and over again until he understands particular tactics,” he further added. 

 Yen acknowledges the pivotal role played by the Chinese Taipei Paralympic Committee (CTPC) and Virtus in his journey towards success.  

 I wouldn’t be here today without the significant efforts of the CTPC and Virtus. While CTPC takes care of my daily needs and training, Virtus competitions provide us with an international stage, allowing us, athletes with intellectual impairment to showcase our talents. 

 Dr. Mu, Ming-Chu, President of the Chinese Taipei Paralympic Committee, who was also the Head of the Delegation for Chinese Taipei at GG2023 was emotional and very excited to witness Yen’s victory at Vichy. 

 I am very proud of this young boy who is just a high school student. Chen had no specialised training program to train himself but he did his best and achieved this extraordinary result. I am very happy and proud that he qualified for the Paralympic Games in Paris next year.” 

 Yen is looking forward to making his Paralympic debut at Paris 2024.  

 I’m very happy to represent our country in Paris 2024. I will continue to work hard and bring glory to our country. For me, there are two most competitive players, one is the world’s top-ranked player from Belgium, Florian Von-Acker and one from South Korea, Kim Chang-Gi who could be my biggest rivals in Paris 2024. I’ll strive for the Paralympic Games medal for sure, and I hope I can set an example for young athletes with intellectual impairment.” 

Po-Yen has already etched his name in history, becoming the inaugural male table tennis player to qualify directly from the Virtus Global Games for the Paralympic Games. Additionally, he holds the distinction of being Taiwan’s first representative ever in the Class 11 category at the Paralympic Games. Po-Yen seized a gold in men’s singles and a silver in mixed doubles at the Hangzhou Asian Para Games 2023 too.

Join Virtus’ #MakingInvisibleVISIBLE campaign in making Chen Po-Yen’s journey Visible. 

Watch the highlights of the Women’s II1 finals from GG2023. 

 View the Paris 2024 Para Table Tennis schedule. 

What is Intellectual Impairment? 

Intellectual impairment is an umbrella term to describe a vast and neuro-diverse group of people with varying types of cognitive impairments including intellectual disability, Down syndrome and autism. Having an intellectual impairment impacts how an athlete understands the rules of the sport, interacts with other players, and adjusts to different environments. They might find it difficult to manage reaction times, remember specific race or game strategies, retain focus for long period of time, or maintaining impulse control.