Asean Para Games: Swimmers excited not stressed

Swimmer Yip Pin Xiu (left) concurs with Theresa Goh about the pre-Games support they have received.
Swimmer Yip Pin Xiu (left) concurs with Theresa Goh about the pre-Games support they have received.ST FILE PHOTO

Central to Singapore's bid for a historic medal haul at the Asean Para Games (APG) will be the swim team. The sport has, after all, delivered 42 golds out of the Republic's entire harvest of 76 golds in the last six editions.

At the forefront of Singapore's 14-strong swim team, who include four debutants, are Paralympians Theresa Goh and Yip Pin Xiu.

And the duo are raring to dive into the competition pool at the OCBC Aquatic Centre - especially after the overwhelming support they have received so far.

Goh, with 22 gold medals from seven previous Games outings, said: "I can't wait to look up in the stands to see all my family and friends there. It's a historic moment, and I'm excited about getting into (the pool) and competing.

"We are also getting a lot of encouragement from Singaporeans, and it's always a great feeling."

Yip added: "I've been swimming competitively for 11 years but these Games are making me the most excited. I cannot imagine what it will feel like.

"It's very heartwarming to hear people shout out words of encouragement to us on the streets."

After shoulder surgery last December, which caused her to miss three months of training, Goh said she is feeling "at her best".

The former world record holder, who has won at least two golds at each APG, also played down the pressure of performing in front of an expectant home crowd.

"There's bound to be some pressure but it's not like we're super stressed out or fearful. It's all good," said Goh, who clinched a silver and two bronzes at last year's Asian Para Games in Incheon.

"It's my eighth (outing) so I want to do as well as I have in the past seven," she added.

Yip, meanwhile, played down her medal hopes. She will be competing three classes up due to a lack of swimmers in her category (S2).

She said: "For me, it's about timing. It's a good benchmark to see where I'm at ahead of the Rio Paralympics next year."

The 2008 Paralympic gold medallist added: "The team is really motivated, I can see a desire to train hard in everyone."

Singapore's best showing at the regional Games was at the inaugural meet in 2001, with a haul of 16 golds, 10 silvers and 11 bronzes in Kuala Lumpur.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2015, with the headline 'Veterans are excited, not stressed'. Print Edition | Subscribe