Paving the way for sporting excellence
From record holders to history makers;
Some would call her the godmother of the ASEAN Para Games and of para-swimming. As she makes her way to the competition venue; opting to use public transport because she has been doing so all her life. Her arms built to intimidate anyone who competes against her, dominating the para-swimming scene since the birth of APG 7 editions ago in the year 2001. Tis fierce stature is ironically accompanied by a friendly smile and laughter that will make you at ease being in her presence.
Already bringing home her 5th gold medal from APG this year, her APG experience is something she will never forget. Back when she first started in 2001, she already proved her dominance however the para-sport scene was virtually unknown back in the day. 14 years on, she is still at it but the fire within her is stronger as her improved timings spoke for themselves.
We are no mathematical geniuses, but if we counted right and to put into context what she has just achieved is something that should not be missed. She has just won her(unofficial) accumulated 29th gold medal in all regional competitions and still exerting her dominance despite her getting older and anatomically that means by right you should get slower. Slower is one thing, but to constantly outdo your opponents who strive to beat you by training just as hard or even harder and yet fall short, ladies and gentlemen that is truly remarkable.
Anyone would be ecstatic and over the moon to even come close to such an achievement but the usual calm Theresa Goh did not let it get to her head. “I feel really happy and lucky to be where I am today, I’ve gotten so much support from so many people and I share this achievement with all of them!”
Despite being so close to clinching astonishing 30th gold, barely missing by a fingertip. However this gold belongs to another record holder, it is none other than her best friend Yip Pin Xiu. Being Singapore’s only Paralympic Gold medallist, she too has shown made the Olympic dream a reality back in 2008 and is gunning for glory again next year in Rio. Clinching gold for this event meant that she has broken the world record for S2 Women’s 50m Backstroke by two seconds!
This would be her second World Record as she broke the record back in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. In case you are not a swimming fan or even a sports fan, let me help you put her current achievement in perspective, we may have just found our very own Michael Phelps! (apologies on the lack of a more similar gender reference) Do not be fooled by her infectious smile and contagious laughter as someone who will rest on her laurels after ascertaining such an amazing feat. She has already taken six months off studies next year to ensure she does Singapore proud in the 2016 Paralympics!
“Singaporean?! Cannot la!” is the common mentality and phrase heard when you sit around listening to old uncles reminisce about the glory days of sports year ago. Truth be told we all want sporting excellence for our country, to hear the national anthem being played during the victory ceremony. If you were looking for a reason to believe in sports, look no further, because these girls have done just that. It’s time to acknowledge talent when we see it and build on it, let us not wait another 14 years to go by or world record be broken before we realize that talent required for excellence is right under our noses. These girls have paved the way and it is now up to us to dare to take their path, to beat what they have accomplished, to believe that we can excel in sports on not only the regional level but on the global scale as well.
What both of you have achieved will never be forgotten and will have a bigger effect as it breaks the ‘vodoo’ mentality that we cannot achieve in the sporting scene. This night is really the cherry on top of a very successful ASEAN Para Games, so let us celebrate as a nation but more importantly let this spur on the believe within us as supporters and athletes that Team Singapore will be a force to reckon with in the near future!
From Dis.Is.Able and on behalf of every Singaporean we would like to thank you both for daring to dream.
Photos by: Yu Feng