Yip's unique advice results in bronze for Goh
Paralympian veteran finally collects medal, after some unique advice
Theresa Goh was preparing for the most important race of her 2016 Paralympic Games campaign when her teammate Yip Pin Xiu came up to her.
Instead of "good luck" or any variation of the customary phrase, Yip, the newly minted women's 100m back S2 champion and world record-holder said: "Have a great training session."
It did catch Goh off, but it also worked a treat, as the Singapore star went to win her first medal in four Paralympic Games when she finished third in the women's 100m breaststroke SB4 final at the Olympic Aquatic Centre in Rio (yesterday morning, Singapore time).
Recalling the moment when Yip seemingly offered those words of encouragement, Goh laughed, and said: "I looked at her weird because I was like, 'Huh? Am I going for training?'"
But the 29-year-old knew what her good friend was up to. Yip knew Goh consistently goes fast during a workout and wanted her to approach the final like she would a training session.
"It was too much pressure thinking about it as a final, so I wanted to think of it as a training session," said Goh.
"Training sessions are where I do really well."
Goh, who was born with spina bifida, clocked 1min 55.55sec to finish third. World record-holder Sarah Louise Rung of Norway won gold in 1:44.94, while Italy's Giulia Ghiretti overtook Goh in the last 25 metres to take the silver in 1:50.58.
Goh said: "I feel like I'm on top of the world... I am really relieved and really happy that my parents were there to watch.
"I wasn't too confident (ahead of the final) because I knew anything could happen, and I wasn't sure how the others would swim in the final."
Goh's nerves were understandable, after she finished fourth in the event at the 2008 Games amid high expectations.
Her bronze medal-winning time was slower than the new Asian record of 1:54.50 she set in the heats, but both coach Mick Massey and Goh were satisfied with the outcome.
Former British Disability Swimming coach Massey said: "There is a huge amount of nervous energy that goes into a major final... and very often swimmers don't make better times in the final, it's about making the podium.
"Nobody will remember the timings, they will remember only that Theresa Goh got a bronze medal, and we are absolutely delighted."
Goh added: "Technically it was a great race for me; the Italian upped a gear in the last 25m because she dropped five seconds from her heats.
"The Chinese swimmer (Zhang Li, who finished fourth), was catching up on me, which some people told me was scary to watch. I was really glad I wasn't watching."
Goh shared a tearful embrace with Yip after her race, with an Instagram post from the latter going viral yesterday. In it, Yip wrote: "You are now a Paralympic medallist after 17 years of training and perseverance. Nobody knows our journey like us and I am so incredibly proud of you."
Goh has the 100m freestyle S5 event left - she finished 14th out 16 swimmers in the 50m freestyle heats yesterday - but she doesn't expect to challenge for a medal.
"The 100m breast is my pet event while I am not ranked highly in the freestyle, but I am going to do my best and hopefully get a good time out of it," she said.
"Congratulations, Theresa Goh, for winning bronze at the Women's 100m breaststroke SB4 finals.
A strong effort by Team Singapore at the Rio Paralympics so far. Well done!"
- President Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam.
"Congratulations to Theresa Goh for her bronze medal win at the 100m breaststroke SB4 final at the #Rio2016 #Paralympics! This is Team Singapore's second medal at the Games. Theresa was the first Singapore swimmer to compete at the Paralympics - in 2004 in Athens. This well-deserved medal is her first at the Games. It is a fitting addition to the many other medals that she has won for Singapore at international competitions over the years. Well done and thank you for being an inspiration, leading by example and showing us how hard work and perseverance pays off! Keep up the good work Team Singapore, we are cheering for all of you!"
- Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
"Congratulations to Theresa Goh for winning a bronze medal in the Women's 100m Breaststroke SB 4 Finals with a timing of 1:55.55!! She set a new Asian record (1:54.50) yesterday in the heats. Well done!!"
- Minister for Social and Family Development and Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin.
S'poreans in action
- 7.35am: Women's 50m freestyle S5 final - Theresa Goh*
* If she qualifies
- 9pm: BC3 individual (seeding) - Nurulasyiqah Mohd Taha & Toh Sze Ning
- 11.59pm: SKUD18 Race 3 - Jovin Tan & Yap Qian Yin
- 1.30am: SKUD18 Race 4 - Jovin Tan & Yap Qian Yin
- 4am: BC3 individual (seeding) - Nurulasyiqah Mohd Taha & Toh Sze Ning