Swimmer Theresa Goh

Home debut after vying in 7 past editions

Theresa Goh (left), with Yip Pin Xiu at the Swim-a-Thon, is calling for more companies to support para-athletes.
Theresa Goh (left), with Yip Pin Xiu at the Swim-a-Thon, is calling for more companies to support para-athletes. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

While others are bubbling with excitement in the lead-up to December's Asean Para Games (APG), an additional wave of nostalgia has hit para-swimmer Theresa Goh.

The 28-year-old, who was born paralysed from the waist down, is the only local para-athlete to have participated in all seven previous editions of the Games since the inauguration in 2001.

"It just reminds me of how far I have come" she said.

"I still see a lot of familiar faces from the first APG.

"But there are also a lot more new faces for sure, which is a good thing."

From starting to swim in order to gain upper body strength at five, Goh has become one of Singapore's most decorated para-athletes in a 16-year swim career.

She has set world records in the 50m and the 200m SB4 breaststroke.

Despite having represented Singapore in major competitions on so many occasions, this APG will be the first time she competes locally.

"It feels amazing," she said. "The thought that so many of my friends and family will be there to watch me compete is really exciting."

Of the seven previous editions, the 2002 and 2003 Singapore Disability Sports Council Sportsgirl of the Year is particularly fond of the inaugural 2001 Games in Kuala Lumpur.

At that meet, she won six golds and two silvers and was named the best female athlete.

"Unfortunately, they stopped awarding in future editions," she said. "And as I grow older, I definitely recognise the honour and am proud that I was selected."

Besides gearing up for the APG, Goh also has her sights set on next year's Rio de Janeiro Paralympics.

And, despite her long career, she does not intend to slow down any time soon.

She said: "Personally, I am planning to go into the APG and do my best as usual on the road to the Rio Paralympics next year.

"At the moment, I don't think Rio will be my last Paralympics. Seeing how many of my rivals are in their mid- to late 30s, I would really hope to be able to compete for as long as possible."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 06, 2015, with the headline 'Home debut after vying in 7 past editions'. Print Edition | Subscribe