Swimmer Toh Wei Soong happy for long-time rival
Swimmer sets national record at Paralympics, also shares in silver medallist's joy
He had just broken his own national record, but a smiling Toh Wei Soong was in fact celebrating a fellow competitor's silver medal achievement in the S7 50m freestyle final at the Tokyo Paralympics yesterday.
The 22-year-old Singaporean swimmer clocked 28.65sec at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, eclipsing the 29.01sec mark he first set at the 2018 Asian Para Games and equalled in yesterday morning's heats. He finished seventh in the eight-man final.
The event was won by Ukraine's Andrii Trusov in 27.43sec while compatriot Yevhenii Bohodaiko took the bronze in 27.99sec. Colombian Carlos Daniel Serrano Zarate (27.84sec) separated the two Ukrainians.
But as the swimmers lingered in the pool after the race, Toh, who has transverse myelitis - a condition caused by the inflammation of the spinal cord - was pictured with a smile on his face.
He explained: "I was smiling because of the swimmer next to me, Carlos. Seeing the excitement in his face when he won the silver, it would be very difficult not to share that moment with him, having raced him for many years now.
"Of course, I was also happy that I was able to smash through the 29-second barrier at this Paralympic Games."
Looking ahead to his last race, the 50m butterfly on Friday, the Paralympics debutant added: "I'm in a very good head space now and the plan is just to continue maintaining this good feeling, this confidence, going into the race on Friday.
"There are targets and expectations I have for myself, but when it really comes down to it, focusing too hard on those expectations is not what's going to get you the results."
In his first event last Sunday, he finished seventh in the S7 400m freestyle final.
Meanwhile, national tandem cyclist Steve Tee, who is visually impaired, and his pilot Ang Kee Meng's last event at the Tokyo Paralympics was marred by a broken chainring that left them unable to finish the men's B time trial (road) event at the Fuji International Speedway.
Despite multiple attempts to fix the issue, the chainring kept coming off and they could not complete the race.
While it was not how the duo had envisioned their campaign ending, they were pleased with their Paralympic debut. Earlier, they had achieved two personal bests in the B 4,000m individual pursuit (finished ninth out of 14 pairs) and B 1,000m time trial (eighth out of 10 pairs).
FOR MORE, READ THE STRAITS TIMES
Singaporeans in action at the Paralympics
- Toh Wei Soong
(men's 50m freestyle - S7 final)
- finished 7th out of 8 in national record of 28.65sec
- Steve Tee and Ang Kee Meng
(men's B time trial, road)
- Did not finish due to broken chainring
- Sophie Soon
6.49pm - women's 100m breaststroke - S12 final (Live on Mediacorp Ch 5 & meWatch)