His competitors would attest that there is absolutely nothing impaired about his ability on the international sporting stage because at the Port Moresby 2015 Pacific Games Chamon outdid them all to win gold in the up to 85kg snatch, which he added to silver medals earned in clean and jerk and overall competitions.
The softly spoken Chamoun, who was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at age seven and declared legally blind at 15 years old, was clearly chuffed with his performance on Tuesday.
“I was very nervous about this international competition, then after finishing the snatch and ending up with a gold I was very excited and very pumped up,” he told the Games News Service.
“It was just a wonderful experience. It was my first gold medal in an international event, and I’m just so happy about that.”
“I knew it was going to be tough in the clean and jerk, so I tried my best, I fought for it.”
Chamoun’s main opponents across the three events were Petunu Opeloge (SAM) and Liam Larkins (AUS), with Opeloge bettering Chamoun’s efforts in the clean and jerk and winning the overall gold medal.
But it was not as simple as that.
Across the two disciplines the Chamoun and Opeloge lifted exactly the same total weight (311kg), it was only Opeloge’s lighter body weight at the weigh-in that pushed him past the Australian and into the overall gold position.
“It was so close between me and him [Opeloge] for the gold,” said a magnanimous Chamoun.
“We lifted the same weight but he weighed that much lighter, and you know, that’s how it works. I’m still happy to be up there, and with my condition – I’m blind and I’m competing against these strong people – I’m happy.”
With his medals secured, all that was left to do was collect them, and that led to one of the more emotional moments in Port Moresby’s BSP Power Dome.
Normally assisted by his former Australian representative weightlifter father George or his sister who is also part of Australia’s weightlifting team, on Tuesday Chamoun needed some help to mount the podium from fellow competitors Opeloge and Larkins.
“My teammates are so supportive, they’re really good. Thanks to Liam for walking me up there,” Chamoun said.
“My dad’s always with me helping me out, and my sister. There are so many helping that are helping me, and all my team they’re all right behind me, so I’m really blessed to have that.”
Whatever assistance Chamoun needs in Port Moresby or the future, its clear that he will repay the favour with inspiration he gives.
Every time he steps to the platform to compete – he lifts more than a weight, he lifts the spirits of everyone around him.
By Jacob Niru, Games News Service