Mind over body!

Para-athletes show their mental strength;

Muscle fatigue and for some the feeling of being homesick had started to set in after consecutive days of intense competition. On top of the usual cramps and tired muscles, para-athletes may suffer from a host of other setback depending on their condition especially after competing with such intensity.

Pushing the past the bodies threshold as their determination and drive to accomplish what they set before APG, be it breaking their personal best record, clinching a medal or even giving it all as they make their debut to represent the nation at the regional level, these athletes do not take ‘NO’ for an answer.

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Focused, these athletes continue strive for intrinsic success, Nur Syahidah Alim of Singapore picked up Singapore’s first ever archery medals as she took home two golds. Pressure to perform had been building up for her as she only just started playing the sport competitively about a year ago. The dark clouds and rain only delayed the inevitable triumph as her focus did not sway away from her target in sight, the gold medal.

Theresa Goh, sharing similar mental strength as Syahidah, went on to clinch her 5th gold medal of the games in commanding style, basically putting the term ‘fatigue’ to shame as Singapore had a neat 1-2 finish in the women’s 50m freestyle S5 (S2-S5). A possible future successor to Theresa Goh’s impressive dominance in the swimming scene is Toh Wei Soong. With three gold medals and a silver, Toh is rising to the occasion doing his best for Team Singapore.

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Radiating the never give up attitude is our Team Singapore goalball team, playing two matches in a day, the team stood tall to the test despite carrying bruises from launching their bodies to the ground fearlessly and defending the goal with their lives. Being the most ‘green’ goalball team in APG, they did not let their inexperience deter them from fighting as they battled every point like it was their last. Physical bruises may not hurt as much as the emotional ones but despite suffering heavy defeats these athletes held their heads up high as they can only hear the crowd cheer for them, acknowledging their effort to battle the region’s best!

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Physically and mentally challenging hurdles lay ahead for these athletes, and even Choo Poh Choon from Singapore’s wheelchair basketball team resonated what being a para-athlete is all about as he addressed the crowd after their 17-51 loss to Myanmar. “Never give up!” he said with such passion and desire that it brought the home crowd to their feet with enthusiastic cheers!

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Time and again these para-athletes leave us with that hair standing feeling and even the occasional jaw drop as we witness sporting excellence of a different kind, the kind worth more to the human spirit than money, fame and power. With two days left, the limitations of achievement is unthinkable!

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