Swimming, equestrian can expect good Paralympics
Swimming and equestrian tipped to do well at the Paralympics
With less than 80 days left for the Paralympic Games, Singapore's athletes are entering the final phase of preparations for Rio de Janeiro.
This year's contingent will be at least nine strong - based on the number of athletes who have met the qualifying standard - but the final figure will be announced next month.
Three track and field athletes - Norsilawati Sa'at (T52 100m), Diroy Noordin (F40 shot put, F40/41 javelin) and Suhairi Suhani (T20 long jump) - have yet to receive confirmation from the International Paralympic Committee regarding their status despite meeting the respective qualification standards for their events.
The contingent for the Sept 7-18 Games will be Singapore's biggest for a Paralympics - the nation was represented by eight athletes at both the 1988 and 2012 Games - and the prospects for medal success in Brazil are good.
"Our athletes are working hard, but we are unable to project a final medal tally at the moment," said Dr Teo-Koh Sock Miang, chairman of the Singapore National Paralympic Council.
"We are confident of podium finishes in swimming and equestrian and have high hopes for boccia and sailing.
"In (Yip) Pin Xiu's case, she looks on track and we hope that she will repeat what she did in Beijing and bring home another gold."
Swim star Yip won the 50m backstroke S3 event at the 2008 Games in China and bagged silver in the 50m freestyle (S3).
At the European Games in May, the 24-year-old set new world records for the 50m and 100m backstroke (S2).
Teammate and best friend Theresa Goh, who has collected 27 Asean Para Games golds in a 16-year career, set a new Asian record in the women's 100m backstroke (SB4) at the same meet.
Some of the athletes bound for the Paralympic and the Olympic Games (Sept 5 to 21 in Rio) received a visit from a VVIP during training yesterday, when President Tony Tan Keng Yam dropped in at the Singapore Sports Hub.
The President visited shuttlers Derek Wong and Liang Xiaoyu at the OCBC Arena before heading to the OCBC Aquatic Centre for a chat with para-swimmers Goh and Yip, equestrian rider Gemma Rose and sailor Jovin Tan.
Team Singapore won a record 24 golds, 17 silvers and 22 bronzes at the 2015 Asean Para Games on home soil, surpassing the Republic's haul at the 2001 event in Kuala Lumpur (16 golds, 10 silvers and 11 bronze medals).
But, speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Goh, 28, said: "It's going to be a different environment for us (at the Olympics) and there is bound to be pressure as its the highest standard.
"But the goal is still the same, to do our best and bring back glory."
The Republic's most successful outing was at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, when the team returned with one gold, one silver and two bronze medals. In London 2012, the contingent returned with one silver and a bronze from equestrian rider Laurentia Tan.
SINGAPORE'S PARALYMPICS CONTINGENT:
- Nurulasyiqah Mohammad Taha
- Toh Sze Ning
- Laurentia Tan
- Maximillian Tan
- Gemma Rose (subject to medical review)
- Theresa Goh
- Yip Pin Xiu
- Jovin Tan (his partner will be named next month)