SINGAPORE - After five years and two postponements, 37 para-athletes will return to action at the Asean Para Games (APG) this year, including Paralympians Diroy Noordin (athletics), Sophie Soon (swimming) and Nur Syahidah Alim (archery).
Syahidah, 36, is defending her women's individual compound gold medal, while several 2017 APG medallists including Toh Sze Ning (boccia), Wong Zhi Wei and Danielle Moi (both swimming) have also been selected for the July 30-Aug 6 Games.
The contingent has 17 debutants, including swimmers Colin Soon and Darren Chan as well as boccia player Aloysius Gan.
The list of selected athletes, who will be led by chef de mission and SNPC honorary treasurer Low See Lien, was announced by the Singapore National Paralympic Council on Thursday (June 23).
The biennial Games were cancelled due to the pandemic in early 2020, when the Philippines was due to host it. Last December's edition in Vietnam was postponed and later moved to Surakarta, also known as Solo, in Indonesia.
At the last edition in Kuala Lumpur in 2017, the Republic achieved its largest away haul of 50 medals (nine golds, 17 silvers, 24 bronzes).
Swimmer Soon, 25, is excited about the chance to race in the APG again after her last outing in 2015 on home soil, which was also her debut.
She said: "I miss competing with a large contingent. Over the past years I've only competed at the Asian Para Games and up (where) the contingent size is much smaller.
"So it's fun to get to mingle with a larger number of athletes and meet our young budding athletes."
Goalball player Inez Hung is looking forward to representing Singapore at the Games for the first time alongside her sister and teammate Joan.
"While I was disappointed (that the Games in the Philippines were cancelled), the women's goalball team saw this as an opportunity to improve our physical strength, skills and technique," said Hung, 30.
"We have prepared well for the Solo 2022 APG and we are raring to go."
Low, 47, is confident the athletes are ready to compete and appealed to Singaporeans to support them.
He said: "Our para athletes have trained hard and have risen above many challenges over the last few years. Crucially, they have had to manage the disappointment of experiencing two consecutive postponements of the Games.
"Despite the challenging circumstances, our para athletes have remained dedicated to their sports and continued to train hard."
SNPC president Teo-Koh Sock Miang added: "We are especially proud to see many debutants achieving an important milestone in their para sports journey.
"We wish them all the best in the final phase of preparation for the Games."
Athletes have until the end of June to meet the selection criteria for the 2022 APG.