Looking to do Singapore proud at Asean Para Games
In his maiden showing at the 2015 Asean Para Games (APG) on home soil, para-swimmer Toh Wei Soong splashed his way to three gold medals in the men's 50m and 100m freestyle S8, and the 100m back S8.
This year, the 19-year-old will be aiming to do as well in the same events - albeit in the S7 category - at the APG in Kuala Lumpur from Sept 17 to 23.
Speaking to The New Paper on the sidelines of Team Singapore's send-off ceremony at Changi Airport yesterday, Toh, who contracted transverse myelitis when he was aged two, admitted that getting back into shape has been tough.
The condition affects the muscle nerves of his lower legs and restricts their use.
"Training has been tough and getting back in shape has been a real challenge, because I took some time off to study," said the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student who had to cut down training from seven days a week to a maximum of four days due to his studies.
"It has been a very testing period because my year-end exams are coming up.
"Having to juggle my academic commitments and my desire to do well at the Games has been very challenging but, thanks to the support of my parents, school and coaches, I think I can do pretty well at the Games.
"I would not have been here without them, they have been a tremendous help."
Fellow national para-swimmer Yip Pin Xiu, who took home the gold in the 50m backstroke S5 in the last Games, will be swimming in only one event - the 50m freestyle S5 (S2-S5) - having recently returned to full-time training.
"It has been four to five months training full-time, and I am excited to be racing again. I am not in tip-top condition right now, but we all aim to be tip-top by the time the world meet in Mexico come around," said Yip, who is taking part in the women's 50m and 100m freestyle and 50m and 100m backstroke in the World Para Swimming Championships from Sept 29 to Oct 7.
"The Asean Games will be a great place for me to get back into motion."
Yip and Toh are part of Singapore's 90 APG-bound athletes across 11 sports, the biggest away showing for the Republic at the Games.
Singapore's previous biggest away contingent was in 2008 when the Republic fielded 57 athletes at the APG in Thailand.