Goh With The Flow: Stanley Lim

Goh With The Flow: A crossover athlete with diverse abilities

Theresa Goh with para-table tennis player Stanley Lim at the Kuala Lumpur Asean Para Games. Lim used to be a swimmer.
Theresa Goh with para-table tennis player Stanley Lim at the Kuala Lumpur Asean Para Games. Lim used to be a swimmer.PHOTO COURTESY OF THERESA GOH

Theresa Goh, swimming in her ninth straight Asean Para Games, is penning a daily column for The Straits Times, sharing nuggets and personal anecdotes about some of her team-mates in the Singapore contingent.

Today, she writes about 40-year-old table tennis player Stanley Lim.

Stan the man.

Most people know Stanley as a table tennis player, but I first knew him as a swimmer and a team-mate.

We've gone to a couple of major Games together as swimmers. At the 2009 Arafura Games - an inclusive multi-sport event where athletes with disabilities compete together with able-bodied athletes - Stanley competed as a swimmer while I dabbled in powerlifting.

I'm glad to see that he has found another sport he can compete in. Compared to the "work" needed to swim, table tennis certainly seems like a less "troublesome" sport.

Like many of my Team Singapore team-mates, he's rather nonchalant about his disability. There is no focus on what his disability is or any time spent on self-pity. That's how Stanley is. You can talk to him about anything.

I say that because it can be quite a chore, especially for athletes with disabilities, to swim. This is even more so if an athlete needs help with putting on competition suits (quite a nightmare to get into these days), in and out of the pool, or with washing up after a session.

Stanley, who has a spinal cord injury and competed in the S2 class (the same class as Yip Pin Xiu) when he was swimming, did the double-armed backstroke.

I can still recall what it was like when we were on the swim team together.

I really enjoyed being among team-mates of so many different abilities, to see how we all had different ways of training. It was a very diverse setting.

Stanley - who is also great at painting - has quite a self-deprecating sense of humour, which is a good fit for me, and he's also super easy to talk to.

Like many of my Team Singapore team-mates, he's rather nonchalant about his disability. There is no focus on his disability or any time for self-pity.

That's how Stanley is. You can talk to him about anything. Maybe it's a kind of camaraderie that people with disabilities share, that it's an experience and understanding that you will only know if you've lived through it.

I hope Stanley is enjoying himself a lot more in table tennis, because I think it's really important to find something you enjoy. You tend to get better at it.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2017, with the headline 'A crossover athlete with diverse abilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe