Team Singapore

Para-swimmer Yip wins gold in season-best time

Para-swimmer clinches Singapore's second gold, as Republic better their previous best tally

Singapore's para-athletes won a gold and a bronze at the Asian Para Games (APG) in Jakarta, Indonesia, yesterday.

First, para-bowler Rex Tan Swang Hee clinched a joint-bronze in the mixed singles TPB10 final.

Next, para-swimmer Yip Pin Xiu captured the Republic's second gold at this APG after winning the women's 50m backstroke S4 (S1-4) race, adding to fellow para-swimmer Toh Wei Soong's gold in the 50m freestyle S7 final on Sunday.

In the process, the Singapore contingent bettered their previous best tally of one gold, one silver and four bronzes at the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon.

Yip, 26, touched the wall first in a season-best time of 1min 2.09sec at the Gelora Bung Karno Aquatic Centre yesterday. Her previous season best was 1min 4.66sec.

Kazakhstan's Gabidullina Zulfiya (1:17.72) and China's Feng Yazhu (1:22.33) took silver and bronze respectively.

Yip, who is born with muscular dystrophy and usually competes in the S2 category, was elated. She finished ahead of three other swimmers in the S4 (1-4) final, two of whom were in the less severely disabled S4 category.

It came as a surprise because this is a mixed class, but I’m very happy with my timing. It’s a season best. S’pore’s Yip Pin Xiu, after winning gold in the 50m backstroke S4 (S1-4) race at the Asian Para Games yesterday

She said: "I'm very delighted. I think it came as a surprise because this is a mixed class, but I'm very happy with my timing. It's a season best."

Yip, who has three golds and a silver from two Paralympics, added that it's her first Asian Para Games medal in three outings.

When asked if it's a good sign ahead of the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020, Yip, who recently became a Nominated Member of Parliament, said: "It's part of the process and I think being able to end this year off with a season best goes to show that training has paid off."

Meanwhile, para-bowler Tan was also ecstatic after winning a joint-bronze at the Jaya Ancol Bowling Centre.

He finished tied with Thailand's Phisitthanakul Raiwin on a six-game total of 1,330 pinfalls. Filipino Chi Kim Ian won with 1,388 pinfalls, just nine ahead of silver medallist Hong Wonju of South Korea.

Said Tan: "I'm feeling very emotional because till now I still don't believe it. During the games, every shot is so important and I keep telling myself that I can't lose.

"I'm lucky to have coach Faizal (Adam) beside me.

"We have been talking during every game, not much on the game itself, but on other stuff like food.

"He was trying to distract me so that I won't feel so stressed."

At the Asian Para Games in Guangzhou in 2010, Tan had also won a bronze in the doubles, but yesterday's medal has extra significance to him as it's a singles event.

He hopes his positive energy can rub off on his teammates in the mixed trios team event on Thursday.

He said: "I hope... together we can get gold and we'll be seeing our flag fly high."

Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, Sim Ann, who is in Jakarta to support the APG athletes, caught up with Tan at the bowling centre and congratulated him.

HEART AND SOUL

She said: "He put his heart and soul into his performance and I am delighted that he has remained unfazed by the intense competition to bring home a well-deserved medal."

Meanwhile, Singapore's other para-athletes also performed creditably yesterday.

In swimming, Games debutante Sophie Soon finished sixth out of eight with a personal best of 1:15.18 in the women's 100m freestyle S13 (12 - 13) final.

Theresa Goh also qualified for the women's 100m breaststroke SB6 (4 - 6) final, though she finished eighth.

Para-bowler Ismail Hussain finished fourth out of 12 with a total of 1,235 pinfalls in the men's singles TPB3 finals.

In archery, Nur Syahidah Alim was pipped 9-8 in a shoot-off by China's Lin Yueshan after both were tied at 138 points each in their quarter-final .

Team Singapore