'Awesome' Theresa swims to two golds
Swimmer Goh wins two golds on first day in the pool, almost back to her best form
In the lead-up to the Asean Para Games (APG), swimmer Theresa Goh had told The New Paper that she is nearly back to the best form of her career.
Goh, who was a contender for the Paralympic gold medal in 2008, showed Singaporeans just how much fire she has in her belly, when she won two gold medals from her two events on the first day of the swimming competition.
This was half of the Republic's swimming titles yesterday.
Goh, 28, won Singapore's first gold medal when she touched home at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday in the women's 100m free S5 (S1-S5) in 1min 45.51sec.
She then made it two from two in the evening finals in her pet event, the women's 100m breast SB4, winning in 2:02.02.
The three-time Paralympian said: "I have been missing the 'fire' for a couple of years and really rediscovered it this year.
"It is down to many things - knowing that I really want to do this and many other things that just fell into place.
"I am really happy (about my second race) because this time is the fastest I have been since about 2008.
"Definitely (a good sign) since (teammate Yip) Pin Xiu and I are gearing up for the Rio Paralympics next year and these are positive results to build towards that."
She clocked 2:02.86 at the International Paralympic Committee World Championships in Glasgow in July to finish fifth in the breaststroke event, and placed fifth in the world this year with that timing.
With yesterday's effort, she remained fifth fastest in the world in the event, with Norway's Sarah Louise Rung topping the heap with 1:44.10.
The Republic also clinched two other golds yesterday - Han Liang Chou won the men's 100m breast SB14 in 1:19.06, while Toh Wei Soong claimed the men's 100m free S8 in 1:05.46, a new Games record.
In addition, Yip Pin Xiu won a silver in the women's 100m free S5 (S1-S5) (see other story), while Lawrence Tay took bronze in the men's 100m breast SB14.
Toh, 17, said: "You can't describe the feeling, the sense of elation, the surge of energy, when you see your name on the wall, and your name being called out.
"That sense of overwhelming support when you hear the crowd shout out your name, that's something you can't replicate anywhere.
"It's an amazing experience."
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said, after watching Goh and Yip swim yesterday morning: "I am so excited to be here, first event and first gold for Singapore.
"Congratulations to Theresa and Pin Xiu, they both did us very proud."
Thirteen Games records were broken yesterday in the pool, while Indonesian Marinus Melianus Yowei clocked 1:14.79 and rewrote his own Asian record, en route to winning the men's 100m breast SB13.
Vietnam top the swimming medal tally with five golds, seven silvers and seven bronzes, while Thailand are second with five golds, four silvers and seven bronzes.
Singapore are fourth in the 10-team table with four golds, one silver and a bronze, with Goh and Thailand's Anchaya Ketkeaw each winning two gold medals.
Goh said: "The day passed by really quickly, but it has been nothing short of awesome."
World's fastest, but no record
Physically, she was the most disabled among the five competitors in her race yesterday.
Yet, 2008 Paralympic gold medallist Yip Pin Xiu managed to clinch a silver - behind teammate Theresa Goh - in the women's 100m freestyle S5 (S1-S5) event at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
Even more remarkable was that the 23-year-old swam the entire race in backstroke.
Yip's swim of 2min 11.86sec is almost five seconds better than Ganna Ielisavetska's S2 world record 2:16.31 in the event. But the Ukrainian's world mark will stand as Yip's swim won't go into the record books, since she did it in a freestyle event, instead of the backstroke event, officials confirmed yesterday.
Yip downplayed her feat after her coach Mick Massey pointed out the achievement to the media.
"Shhhhh... I don't need additional pressure," she said, before asking the journalists not to report on the statistic. "I tried not to put pressure on myself because I was swimming so many classes up; I tried not to think about the medals at all and just wanted to do a good time."
"Being on home ground gave me a very familiar feeling. Normally, in other competitions I would be a bit afraid (before the race), but this time I just felt very calm," added the chirpy swimmer, who is usually in the S3 category but classified as S2 for the Asean Para Games.
Physically disabled swimmers are classified from S1 to S10, with S10 being the least disabled.
Yip competed in the S5 category yesterday, along with Vietnam's Nguyen Thi Den, an S4, as there aren't enough swimmers in their respective categories. Also, the women's 100m backstroke S2 event is not offered at these Games.
Massey, former British Paralympic swimming coach, was more effusive about Yip's time, though.
He said: "She is an amazing performer. I am really pleased.
"I knew she would go pretty close to the world record on the back of how she did in training, but not by five seconds. It is quite a big jump."
He added that Yip's result will put her in good stead for next year's Rio Paralympics, in which she has qualified for the 100m free and 50m back events, but cautioned against overconfidence.
Massey said: "She's in a great place, but the thing is you've got to put your feet on the ground because anything can happen in nine months.- LIM SAY HENG
SINGAPORE'S GOLD MEDALS
- Women's 100m freestyle (S5) 1:45.51
- Women's 100m breaststroke (SB4) 2:02.02 (Games rec)
Han Liang Chou
- Men's 100m breaststroke (SB14) 1:19.06
Toh Wei Soong
- Men's 100m freestyle (S8) 1:05.46 (Games rec)
- Mixed Singles (TPB 3) 1,137 pinfalls
- Mixed Singles (TPB 4) 1,092 pinfalls
- Mixed Singles (TPB 8) 838 pinfalls
WHAT'S ON TODAY
From 9.45am (Kallang Cricket Field)
From 8.40am (National Stadium)
From 12.30pm/5.30pm, (OCBC Arena)
From 10am (OCBC Arena)
CEREBRAL PALSY FOOTBALL
From 12.30pm (National Stadium)
From 1pm (OCBC Arena)
From noon (Marina Bay Sands)
From 10am (Yishun Safra)
From 9am/6pm (OCBC Aquatic Centre)
From 10am (OCBC Arena)
From 2pm (Temasek Club)
* For detailed schedule, visit www.aseanparagames2015.com/