Asian Para Games: Mental images of race help swimmer Toh bag Singapore's first medal - a gold - in Jakarta

File photo showing Singapore swimmer Toh Wei Soong competing at the 2015 Asean Para Games.
File photo showing Singapore swimmer Toh Wei Soong competing at the 2015 Asean Para Games.PHOTO: ST FILE

Swimmer Toh Wei Soong hailed the power of positive visualisation after he won gold in the men's 50m freestyle S7 event at the Asian Para Games in Jakarta on Sunday night (Oct 7).

Toh, who turned 20 last month, touched the wall in 29.01 seconds, finishing ahead of the Philippines' Gawilan Ernie (31.93) and India's Jadhav Suyash Narayan (32.16). He had also finished top of his heat earlier in the day.

His win was Singapore's first medal at the Games, which started last Saturday and ends on Oct 13.

Describing swimming as "more of an art" than a sport to him, Toh, who began swimming competitively when he was eight, said: "While preparing for this race, I visualised what I would do several times.

"And I suppose I was imagining this picture in my head... (and) trying to get there as close as possible."

At the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April, he clocked 29.83sec to finish third behind Australian Matthew Levy (28.60) and South African Christian Sadie (29.65).

He shot to prominence at the 2015 Asean Para Games in Singapore, winning three golds. He matched that haul at last year's APG in Kuala Lumpur.

Calling his second Asian Para Games appearance a "great experience", Toh, who had been diagnosed with transverse myelitis (an inflammation of the spinal cord, which restricts the use of his legs) when he was two, said: "I am very satisfied by this race and it reaffirms why I continue (swimming competitively).

"This is a crazy sport and you have to be a little masochistic, a little crazy.

"But (moments like these) remind you that you are striving for something higher and you are getting closer to it."

Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann congratulated Toh on his win, as well as powerlifter Nur'aini Mohamad Yasli, who set a personal best of 61kg in the women's 45kg category yesterday.

Last month, Toh and Olympic champion Joseph Schooling were named "Start Your Impossible" hero athletes by Toyota and Borneo Motors (Singapore).

Inspired by Toyota's worldwide partnership with the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee, the initiative also marks Toyota's support of the creation of a more sustainable, inclusive and mobile society.