Paralympians Yip and Goh honoured at awards night
Paralympic gold medallist Yip hopes to see more disabled athletes come up the ranks
For years, para-swimmers Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh have been flying the flag high for Singapore in the international arena.
Their careers reached a high at the Rio Paralympics in September when Yip struck gold in the S2 50m and 100m events, smashing two world records in the process, and Goh won her first Paralympic medal on her fourth attempt - a bronze in the SB4 100m breaststroke.
Yesterday, the two athletes, together with the rest of the 13-strong Rio contingent, were honoured at the Singapore National Paralympics Council (SNPC) Athletes' Achievement Awards (AAA) ceremony at the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Under the AAA, which is funded by the Tote Board, Yip, 24, was awarded $400,000 ($200,000 each for a gold medal) while Goh, 29, received $50,000 for her bronze.
Twenty per cent of their prize money will go to the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC). The rest of the athletes received a token of appreciation.
The duo are hoping that their success will inspire more to take up sports and that their contributions to the SDSC will be put to good use.
Said Yip: "We'd like to see fresh blood come in next year.
"We hope the funds will go into training and development of the sport, maybe even talent-scouting of (new athletes).
"Having a bigger base of athletes would help even if we want to pick a few for the elite level, there will be more people to choose from."
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, the guest of honour for the evening, praised the Paralympic contingent for a job well done.
"Congratulations to our two Rio medallists and all our Team Singapore Paralympians from Rio," said Ms Fu.
"All of you have shown us what it means to be a champion - to overcome your personal challenges and pursue your dreams, to be counted among the world's best and to fly the Singapore flag high at the biggest stage for para sports."
Going on to praise Yip and Goh for their medal wins, Ms Fu added: "Pin Xiu, your journey to the top exemplifies the power of sport. It goes beyond winning medals and breaking records.
"You showed us how you have overcome your personal challenges with hard work and determination.
"Although a Paralympic medal eluded her in the past, Theresa never gave up.
"In Rio, she won her first Paralympic medal in the SB4 100m breaststroke event.
"This medal is well deserved for her hard work and perseverance through the years."
Ms Fu also addressed the growth and development of disability sports in Singapore.
"In the past few months, we have set up two Centres of Expertise in our existing sports centres at Sengkang and Toa Payoh, with programmes in Swimming and Wheelchair Rugby," she said.
"The Centres of Expertise provide supporting infrastructure and programmes catered for persons with disabilities.
"Our recent achievements in disability sports are bringing us closer to our vision of Sport without Boundaries, where every individual, regardless of ability, can lead healthy and fulfilling lives through sport."
Both Yip and Goh revealed that they will be participating in competitions for the next two years, before deciding whether to take part in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
"We're looking at two-year cycles, so that would be the 2017 Asean Para Games (in Kuala Lumpur), then we'll see if we'll be going to Tokyo," said Yip.
"I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue because I felt like I have so many options," said Goh.
"I made my decision to continue another two years because I feel like I still can."