Singapore swimmers surpass previous best, with Goh bagging her fifth gold
Theresa bags fifth gold as Republic better previous best haul at the Para Games
Before their interviews with the media yesterday, swimmers Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh spent about five minutes signing autographs and taking pictures with volunteers and well-wishers at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
"I am not used to it, honestly, and I don't think I'll ever be," said Goh, 28, who is taking part in her eighth successive Asean Para Games.
The swimmers, especially Paralympians Goh and Yip, have become the Republic's stars at the Games after contributing the bulk of the medals.
Yesterday, the swimmers pushed Singapore past the previous best medal haul at the inaugural Games in Kuala Lumpur in 2001 (16 golds, 10 silvers and 11 bronze medals).
The Republic now have 20 golds, 10 silvers and 14 bronze medals, with two days of competition to go.
After the penultimate day of action at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday, the team had 14 golds, four silvers and nine bronzes.
Three-time Paralympian Goh won gold No. 16 for the hosts, and her fifth of the Games, in the first event of the day, claiming the women's 50m freestyle S5 (S2-S5) in 49.41sec.
Teammate Toh Wei Soong then made history for Singapore by claiming gold No. 17 in the men's 100m backstroke S8 in 1min 21.02sec.
"It is an honour to be the one to break the record, but I don't want to take all the credit.
"It is because of the collective effort of the entire para-swimming team that we have been able to achieve this," said the 17-year-old Toh, who also won the men's 50m freestyle S8 last night in 30.27sec.
Benson Tan doubled his gold medal tally yesterday after winning the men's 100m backstroke S14 (1:12.30) and the 50m freestyle S14 (28.26).
"I don't feel tired at all, I have one more event tomorrow and I will try to win it," said the 24-year-old, who swims the men's 50m backstroke S14 today.
Yip, 23, claimed a silver in the women's 50m freestyle S5 (S2-S5) in 1:01.23 swimming the backstroke - competitors are allowed to use any stroke in a freestyle event.
Her timing yesterday bettered Chinese swimmer Feng Yazhu's S2 world record of 1:03.00, although the Singaporean's swim will not go into the record books as it was not achieved in a women's 50m backstroke event.
She said: "I am very happy with the timing, and the placing also, since I am an S2 swimming in an S5 event."
Para-swimming events are classified S1 to S10 for physical disability, with S1 for athletes with the most severe disabilities.
Chef de mission Raja Singh hailed the breakthrough achieved at these Games.
He said: "We have achieved the milestone but, moving forward, the key is how do we structure (the growth of disability sports) and bring in all the different stakeholders.
"Let's go for 21 (golds) first; when we hit 21, we will talk again. I don't want to put pressure on anybody, even myself.
"I just want to push our athletes to the limit, and let them go and perform."