She was the youngest of the Singapore team at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, but Yip Pin Xiu was also the brightest star, bringing home Singapore's first ever Paralymic gold medal. Pin Xiu was born with Charcot Marie Tooth, which means her muscles degenerate progressively with age. She had started swimming when she was five with her brothers as a weekly family activity. A volunteer with the Singapore Disability Sports Council noticed her swimming and how she was able, despite her physical challenges, to keep up with the other children and encouraged her to swim competitively. She began to do so when she was 12.
Soon she was taking part in regional and international meets, and she was bringing back medals. In 2008 at the Beijing Paralympics, she produced Singapore’s first Paralympic gold medal, easily winning the 50 metres backstroke final. On her return from Beijing in 2008, she was awarded the Public Service Medal. Fast forward to 2016, at her third Paralympic Games, Pin Xiu won two Gold medals in the Women’s 50m and 100m Backstroke S2 event. She also set a two world record for both events with a time of 0:59.38 and 2:07.09 respectively.
Theresa Goh was born with spina bifida, a condition that results in an incompletely formed spinal cord. Due to her condition, she relies on a wheelchair for mobility. However, despite her physical limitations, she has gone on to become an internationally recognized athlete and she was a holder of several world records. Theresa first picked up swimming at the age of five and started competing at 12. In no time, she established herself as a top competitor internationally. At her fourth Paralympic Games, Theresa Goh won her first Paralympic Games medal, a Bronze in Women’s 100m Breast SB4 event. She also set a new Asian, National Record and Personal Best during the heats with a time of 1:54.50.
Toh Wei Soong
At the tender age of two, Wei Soong had been diagnosed with the rare condition of Transverse Myelitis – a condition consisting of the inflammatory process of the spinal cord. The disease affects the muscle nerves of his lower limbs, and as a result he relies on a wheelchair to help him move around. Wei Soong was first exposed to swimming at the age of six, as a form of therapy. However, he soon fell in love with the experience of being in water, where he faced little restriction and could do things that he could not on land. It was in the water where he felt free, and just like anyone else. He also noted that
through his trainings and victories, swimming has helped cultivate him into a disciplined and confident individual. In 2013, he participated in his first international competition, the IDM Berlin Open 2013 in Germany. Despite being nervous as it was his first time competing in such a big arena, he rose up to the occasion and brought back two gold medals for Singapore. The experience left him with a great sense of achievement.
Colin Soon, brother of national para swimmer Sophie Soon. Born with conerod dystrophy that deteriorates his eyesight over time, Colin does not let that stop him from pursuing things of interest. At a tender age of 5, he started swimming lessons as part of water safety. In 2015, he witnessed his sister compete at the ASEAN Para Games in 2015 and that gave him to push to pursue competitive swimming. His first international competition was at the Asian Youth Para Games 2017 in Dubai, where he brought home bronze in both the Men's 100m Backstroke and Freestyle.
Wong Zhi Wei
Wong Zhi Wei started swimming at age 11. In 2013, a family doctor recommended that Zhi Wei join AWWA integration. That same year, it was through that association that they signed him up for SDSC National Para Swimming Championships. Zhi Wei was a chubby kid growing up but with the introduction of sporting activities, he leaned out and excelled in many sports like shooting, sailing, rock climbing and swimming. Due to his low vision, he had to stop the other sports due to safety issues but Swimming stood out as it was suitable for his ability. His competitive journey in Swimming took off in 2017 when he competed at the ASEAN Para Games 2017, Asian Youth Para Games 2017 and the Asian Para Games 2018.
Lim Kong Boon
Lim Kong Boon was diagnosed with intellectual impairment at an early age. He started competed in the National Para Swimming Championships when he was 17 years old. To highlight some of his achievements, kong boon clinched 7th place in the Asian Youth Para Games 2017 in Dubai.
One thing I always do when I return from overseas training or competitions is to call my family to let them know I've arrived safely, I am very close to them and I don't want them to worry. One thing I would like to do eventually is to do a swimming photoshoot and have it featured to encourage and inspire others.
Despite her young age, Danielle has won numerous medals in severalcompetitions since 2014.
Suffered from peripheral neuropathy in his adulthood, the ex-swimming coach was devastated by the news and fall into depression during his rehabilitation period. As an active person before, he regained his passion in swimming with the encouragement from his families and former coach, Ang Peng Siong. Quickly, swimming transformed from a form of rehabilitation to maintain his physical fitness to a more competitive regime. Mobilising around in his wheelchair, he trains weekly under SDSC’s programme and is
looking forward to qualify for the 2020 ASEAN Para Games.
Darren Chan, who has intellectual impairment enrolled in Rainbow Centre Yishun Park in 2009. It was through the school that the jovial kid got to try out many sporting activities like inline skating, track & field and swimming. The teacher noticed that Darren was swift in the water and decided to support Darren in swimming activities. Through signing up in the National Para Swimming Championships, Darren was scouted to join the development
team in 2018. This will be his first competition since joining the team.
Jazlene Tan picked up swimming to learn water safety when she was 10. Soon after, she developed an interest in competitive swimming and started participating in the annual National Para Swimming Championships.
Now 17 years old, Jazlene has demonstrated continuous progress in her swimming results over the years of competition. The Singapore 2019 World Para Swimming Series will be Jazlene’s first international event.
At a tender age of 2 years old, Nicole was exposed to swimming as part of a weekly family activity with her grandfather. Her love of water holds no bounds, at age 9 and through the recommendation of her school (Grace Orchard School) she entered her first swimming competition. At the Inter School competition, she came in 4th in the Women’s 25m Freestyle. A year later, she was noticed by Singapore Disability Sports Council during the National Inclusive Championships. In 2017, Nicole she was chosen to represent the nation at the ASEAN Para Games and Asian Youth Para Games.
Chew Zi Ling
At the age of 10, Chew Zi Ling was a diagnosed with intellectual impairment with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Prior to that, Zi Ling was bounced around from schools due to her inability to stay focus in school. Finally when a proper diagnosed was done; she was introduced to Grace Orchard School. It was there that Zi Ling shined. Through the recommendation of the school, she competed at local swimming competitions and was eventually selected to represent the nation at the ASEAN Para Games in 2008. Over a decade in swimming, her mantra is that water gives her energy to excel in all things.
Han Liang Chou
A decade in Swimming - Han Liang Chou, the 22 year-old has been swimming since the age of 12. It was through his school that he joined Swimming as a co-circular activity (CCA). 3 years later, he was selected to represent the nation at the 2011 ASEAN Para Games and won a bronze. Driven to push further, he continued to push hard to ensure that he can do his nation proud. Besides swimming, Liang Chou takes pride in his comic drawings and model making gunpla.
Benson Tan who was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder at the age of five, is an accomplished swimmer who has won 11 ASEAN Para Games medals, seven of them gold. Benson started taking part in sports at the age of 10. This was part of his mother’s push to encourage him to pick up sports. Since picking up sports, Benson has been able to focus and help him with his social skills. When he turned 18, Benson turned competitive and has since competed to represent the nation at regional and international
Cheerful and outgoing, Sophie Soon may seem like any other 22-year-old you meet. However, her slew of achievements, musically and athletically, bear testament to the determined spirit and hard work of this extraordinary teenager.
Diagnosed with cone rod dystrophy as a child, which results in deteriorating vision that may lead to eventual blindness, Sophie’s visual impairment has not stopped her from pursuing her interests in sports and music. She represented Singapore at the 2015 ASEAN Para Games where she bagged a personal best timing in the 100m butterfly event. She swims up to six days a week, and is constantly chasing her personal bests because it is an "achievement I can see". Apart from swimming, Sophie, who is a Grade 7 violinist, enjoys playing classical and baroque music. Instead of feeling dejected when she cannot read her violin notes, she learns news songs by listening to how her teacher plays them.