ST's inspiring story of para swimmer wins prize

ST sports journalist Chua Siang Yee with his Story of the Year award given by the Singapore Swimming Association yesterday. He won for his story about the grit of Malaysian para swimmer Yeo Yi Lin, who competed at the Asean Para Games last December.
ST sports journalist Chua Siang Yee with his Story of the Year award given by the Singapore Swimming Association yesterday. He won for his story about the grit of Malaysian para swimmer Yeo Yi Lin, who competed at the Asean Para Games last December.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

It was an inspiring story of Malaysian para swimmer and bone cancer survivor Yeo Yi Lin, who battled dizziness and double vision to compete at the Asean Para Games (APG) last December.

Titled "Yeo shrugs off pain to compete", the story won Straits Times sports journalist Chua Siang Yee the Story of the Year award by the Singapore Swimming Association yesterday at its annual awards and appreciation night.

The interview with Ms Yeo, who had her left leg amputated and eventually finished last in the 400m freestyle S9 event, happened purely by chance, said Mr Chua, 26, who joined ST in 2013.

He wanted to profile her for ST's "Timeout with" section, a daily feature during the APG where an athlete is asked 10 fun questions.

What was a routine assignment blossomed into a story of an athlete's refusal to be disheartened by the hurdles in her life.

Said Mr Chua: "There was an easy-going charm about Yi Lin which made me approach her and I'm glad I did because her story deserves to be told. That this interview happened completely by chance also shows that the sporting arena is full of inspiring stories.

"Yi Lin's endless optimism is a lesson to us that life could be that much easier if we face everything with the right attitude."

Mr Chua, who received $1,000 for the award, is donating the sum to the ST School Pocket Money Fund.

Alvin Chia

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 24, 2016, with the headline 'ST's inspiring story of para swimmer wins prize'. Print Edition | Subscribe