Asean Para Games 2017

Asean Para Games: 30th Gold for nervous Goh

Theresa Goh on her way to winning the SB4 100m breaststroke at the Kuala Lumpur Asean Para Games yesterday. She clocked 2min 4.16sec to win the race, more than 24 seconds ahead of Danh Thi My Thanh of Vietnam, who was second with a time of 2:28.24.
Theresa Goh on her way to winning the SB4 100m breaststroke at the Kuala Lumpur Asean Para Games yesterday. She clocked 2min 4.16sec to win the race, more than 24 seconds ahead of Danh Thi My Thanh of Vietnam, who was second with a time of 2:28.24.PHOTO: SANKETA ANAND/SPORT SINGAPORE

Veteran swimmer dominates race despite minor illness and bid to fine-tune technique

Having started swimming competitively at the age of 12, she is nearing two decades' worth of experience in the pool.

Yet, when Theresa Goh woke up yesterday morning in Kuala Lumpur, it was nervousness that she felt before her SB4 100m breaststroke race at the Asean Para Games (APG).

"I'm always kind of nervous every time before my race, no matter what previous Games were like," said the 30-year-old. "I do a lot of mental (seesawing), knowing that if I'm going into the nervous zone, I have to reel back into the not-nervous zone.

"By the time I get to the blocks, I should be done seesawing and be ready to go out. I don't worry by that point."

Indeed, she was ready. The swimmer clinched the gold medal in 2min 4.16sec, finishing ahead of Vietnam's Danh Thi My Thanh (2:28.24) and Thailand's Nopparat Tanbut (2:44.89).

Goh has competed in all nine editions of the biennial Games and yesterday's victory at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil was her 30th gold.

It was her 32nd medal overall, a tally which includes her silver in the 100m S6 freestyle final on Monday. She is Singapore's most bemedalled athlete at the APG.

"Thirtieth gold for the 30-year-old," Goh joked. "I'm quite happy with the number of medals."

She said that there is no single medal that means more than the others and that "they all add up together and brought me to where I am today". "It's always good to win a gold and it's my 30th gold of my whole Asean Para Games career, so that's a cherry on top."

A minor illness, which Goh described as "a little bit inconvenient", did not stop the 2016 Summer Paralympics bronze medallist (SB4 100m breast) from finishing more than 24 seconds ahead of Thanh.

GOLD STANDARD

Thirtieth gold for the 30-year-old. I'm quite happy with the number of medals.

THERESA GOH, after winning the SB4 100m breaststroke at the Asean Para Games in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Instead, when Goh was in the pool for her favourite event, it was just her against the clock as she worked on her technique. These Games were meant to be part of her preparation for the World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico City. The meet had been due to start on Sept 30 but has been postponed due to Tuesday's earthquake.

She said: "I put pressure on myself when I race against a competitor. It also has the potential for me to overthink a lot of things if I race against someone else. Just me and the clock and (I) try to get faster and faster.

"I was just trying to focus a lot on my strokes, especially coming off the Berlin Open previously. I've been working a lot more on freestyle, so it's to get the feel of my breaststroke in order."

Today will bring another challenge. For that is when the Best Female Athlete at the inaugural APG in 2001 competes against compatriot and good friend Yip Pin Xiu in the S5 50m free race.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2017, with the headline '30th Gold for nervous Goh'. Print Edition | Subscribe