Athletes break new ground in Brazil

Even as Team Singapore depart Brazil today with their best-ever haul of golds at the Paralympics, some are already dreaming of making a mark outside the action.

Boccia player Nurulasyiqah Taha campaigned for a four-year seat on the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletes' Council. She failed in her bid but remains undaunted in her mission to obtain greater representation on the council for athletes with high support needs.

Nurul, the only Singaporean and boccia player among the 22 candidates, told The Straits Times: "The role of the Athletes' Council goes beyond being a role model for para-athletes. It (involves) rising beyond my duties as an athlete to understand the needs and aspirations of my fellow athletes and work on fulfilling them."

She added: "I would like to see an increase in the quota allocated per National Paralympic Committee for officials or staff supporting such athletes."

When asked why she would like to take up a role acting as liaison between IPC decision makers and Paralympic athletes, she said it was "a natural progression" for her after competing in boccia for over a decade.

After 10 days of intense competition at the Rio Games, the Team Singapore athletes tucked into barbecued meat and cheese bread with the option of a caipirinha, Brazil's national cocktail, on Sunday evening (Brazil time).

They joined 60 Singaporeans at a celebratory dinner hosted by the Singapore embassy in Brasilia.

Over 10 days, the Republic was represented by 13 athletes across six sports - the largest contingent Singapore has ever had.

Swimmer Yip Pin Xiu made history by becoming the first Singaporean to win two golds at the Paralympics, taking her total to three, following her first title at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Fellow swimmer Theresa Goh bagged a bronze, her first Paralympic medal after three previous Games.

Joan Chew

VIDEO

Find out what the athletes would like to do most when they return home: http://str.sg/4Gmx

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2016, with the headline 'Athletes break new ground in Brazil'. Print Edition | Subscribe