The Journey After
The ASEAN Para Games 2015 gave the local para-sport scene the boost it was yearning for!
Walking down the streets of Singapore would never be the same again for silver medallist Zac Leow. “The public awareness towards para-sports is growing significantly” Zac shared as strangers giving him the thumbs up or the friendly wave took some getting used to.
The APG hype may have been extinguished as time passes by but the ripple effect from its success is surely felt by our local-para athletes. To Zac and many other athletes, the feeling of home support and recognition from fellow Singaporeans was close to non-existent not too long ago. Constant efforts by SDSC to keep up and increase the participation of the para-sport scene locally paid dividends last December as we had the highest medal tally in the history of our country.
The momentum of APG has not only had a positive effect in raising awareness but driving our para-athletes to better themselves. Zac has been inspired by all his fellow Team Singapore athletes during APG as everyone gave their absolute everything, “personally for me I was very motivated PX World Record swim. She swam with people three classes above her when she attained that record and removed the negative thoughts out of myself to believe that I can do anything”.
Believing is exactly what he did as he walked the talk, being the first para-athlete to stay in the altitude house before flying back to Australia to continue his studies. Staying and training together with fellow Team Singapore athletes Dipna Lim and Soh Rui Yong who are both SEA Games medallist left Zac slightly nervous at first. The rare opportunity to live a full time athlete life with the best athletes was overwhelming but Zac relished it. Both physiologically and psychologically it helped him grow into a better athlete as he has shaved seconds of his timings within a month.
SSI(Singapore Sports Institute) boasts the latest sports science equipment and the altitude chamber is definitely any athletes dream. The ability to control the altitude and help prepare athletes for competitions in various parts of the world and increase muscle recovery put SSI back on the map for sports science. “I am really proud to know the set-up and equipment Singapore has, especially being sport science student in Australia. People normally assume that Australia has the best sports science facility but I dare to say Singapore is not inferior to whatever I have seen. We are progressing well in terms of sports and sports science and I am glad to be at the receiving end of such progression”
The almost unknown para-sport scene took a leap forward and many baby steps followed soon after. The common misconception of para-sport being inferior to able bodied sport has been wiped out of memory. The journey has just begun for many of these para-athletes and Zac knows that the fruits of the labour are just about to come in. Till the next time they carry our nations hopes on an international stage, we will continue to take these baby steps with you because the journey of sporting excellence is never solo one.
Photo by : www.shutterboxstudio.org