Para sports: Spore's Yip Pin Xiu wins International Women's Day Recognition Award

The International Women's Day Recognition Awards recognise women in the Paralympic Movement who inspire and emulate the Paralympic ideals. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - National swimmer Yip Pin Xiu has received another feather in her cap when she was named by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as one of three winners of the 2022 International Women's Day Recognition Awards on Tuesday (March 8).

Yip received the award for emerging leadership, while the other winners were Zimbabwe's National Paralympic Committee secretary general Oripa Mubika (leadership) - who is a rare female para-sport coach in her country - and Paralympics New Zealand (for National Paralympic Committee and International Federation) for their commitment to gender equality.

Yip told The Straits Times: "I'm truly very honoured to have won this award among other people who have done so much for para-sport, so to win this emerging leadership award is really special."

In its citation, the IPC lauded the 30-year-old, a five-time gold medallist across three Paralympics (2008, 2016 and 2020), as someone who "has led an era of change for Singapore".

It added: "An outspoken advocate, Pin Xiu was the first para-athlete elected as a Nominated Member of Parliament and has challenged the government to cultivate inclusive national sport associations.

"Recognising her impact on the pushing forward the inclusion agenda, in 2021 she was the first recipient of a new national award, the President's Award for Inspiring Achievement."

The International Women's Day Recognition Awards recognise women in the Paralympic Movement who inspire and emulate the Paralympic ideals and serve as positive role models, with the winners being decided by the IPC's Women in Sport committee chaired by Rita van Driel.

She said: "I want to congratulate the winners on their well-deserved recognition and on opening up new opportunities for women across the whole Paralympic spectrum; you are an inspiration to us all.

"We had so many strong applications from across the world, which is testament of the increase in number of women leading our Movement, and I want to thank everyone who entered.

"It is very important for the IPC Women in Sport Committee to have strong female representation in leadership positions across the Paralympic Movement to get more women involved and, therefore, make it more diverse and inclusive."

Meanwhile, Yip was heartened to hear that Sport Singapore will be expanding its ActiveSG academies and clubs to provide persons with disabilities with a more structured way to pursue their sporting interests and develop their skills from this year.

Noting that she will continue to advocate for the progress of Singapore sports, she added: "It's exciting because we definitely need more resources, and coaches to be more knowledgeable. What's even more important is we need more participants to understand that there are such resources and to assist them to come forward and use them because eventually this will create a better quality of life and give them a chance to be part of a community.

"Locally, I want to help steer how both the able-bodied and para sports community grow and be more active, see better understanding of each other, and some integration in the years to come. Internationally, I do want to see the Movement continue to grow and I'm excited to see what the next few years can bring."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.