Para swimmer Toh Wei Soong urges educators to help students with disabilities chase their dreams

Para swimmer Toh Wei Soong, who spoke to more than 45 people during the Sports Talent Pathway Workshop.
Para swimmer Toh Wei Soong, who spoke to more than 45 people during the Sports Talent Pathway Workshop.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Para swimmer Toh Wei Soong's journey in sport was kickstarted when his teacher at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Mr Chan Chee Wei, invited him to represent the school at a swimming meet.

On Monday (Nov 11), the athlete gave precious insights to more than 45 people who attended a workshop to equip educators and staff of social service organisations with the knowledge and tools to aid para athletes in their pursuit of high performance sport, said a press release from the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC).

Among the topics discussed in the Sports Talent Pathway Workshop were impairment and classification procedures, disability sports and the local and international competition landscape, while toolkits that educators can rely on to lead projects in their schools or organisations were also provided. Staff from Borneo Motors (Singapore) human resources team also shared about the company's inclusive employment practices, along with how sports equips one with transferable skills such as resilience, pursuit of excellence and strong interpersonal skills.

The workshop was jointly organised by Borneo Motors (Singapore) and the SDSC.

Toh, a Toyota "Start Your Impossible" (SYI) Hero athlete, told the audience: "My journey is made possible only through the support of many parties, including my teacher, who believed in me from the start.

"I want to continue to spread hope and I applaud educators for all that they do. I encourage them to continue helping students with disabilities to open doors, create opportunities and to chase their dreams."

The SYI initiative is inspired by Toyota's worldwide partnership with the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee, and it marks the carmaker's ongoing commitment to transform into a mobility company. The initiative supports the creation of a more inclusive, sustainable and mobile society in which everyone can challenge their impossible.

In Singapore, Toyota, along with its official distributor, Borneo Motors (Singapore), has partnered Toh and fellow swimmer Joseph Schooling to champion their hero projects of "Equality of Opportunity" and "Road Safety" respectively.

Mr Samuel Yong, director of marketing and business strategy at Borneo Motors (Singapore), said: "At Borneo Motors (Singapore), we are called to live out the 'Start Your Impossible' spirit. As an inclusive workplace, we are responsible for creating an environment for success for all employees. We are proud to support Wei Soong and our partner, SDSC as they touch lives and work towards a better world for everyone."

Ms Kelly Fan, executive director of SDSC, said: "Educators are uniquely placed to play an important role in shaping the landscape of disability sports in Singapore, and this comes to light based on Wei Soong's testimony.

"Sport is truly for everyone, regardless of impairment. Through SYI, we have reached out to the wider community to spread awareness and educate, creating the foundation to inculcate sport as a major pillar of our society."