Paralympics: Bronze medallist Theresa Goh has carried disability sports torch for over 10 years

Theresa Goh has won a Paralympic medal at the fourth attempt, a bronze in the 100m breaststroke SB4.
Theresa Goh has won a Paralympic medal at the fourth attempt, a bronze in the 100m breaststroke SB4.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - After four attempts at the Paralympic Games, Theresa Goh can finally call herself a Paralympic medallist. Her bronze in the 100m breaststroke SB4 may be her newest and most treasured possession to date, but it is definitely not the only one in her trophy cabinet.

Goh was born premature at seven months with spina bifida and is paralysed from the waist down. An undeveloped left ear also means she is partially deaf. She was Singapore's first Paralympian swimmer when she made her Paralympic debut at the 2004 Athens Games.

Now 29, she is one of the most recognisable faces among national athletes with disabilities and has carried the torch for disability sports in Singapore for the past decade.


President Tony Tan speaks to swimmer Theresa Goh during a visit to the OCBC Aquatic Centre on June 20, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

She is the first swimmer - able-bodied or with disability - to be atop the podium on the world stage.

She won the 200m individual medley (SM5 category) at the 2006 International Paralympic Committee World Championships in Durban, South Africa in 4min 6.39sec.


Goh drags a bucket of underwater - over a distance of 25m - as part of resistance training. PHOTO: ST FILE


Goh previously held the world record over two distances in her pet event, the breaststroke, one of which was set when she was just 14 years old.

She briefly held the 50m breaststroke mark in 2001, and later broke it in March 2007 when she clocked 53.60sec. That mark is now held by Norwegian Sarah Louise Rung (48.05sec).

In August 2006, she smashed the 200m breaststroke mark by almost 39 seconds when she clocked 4:30.67 at the US Paralympics Swimming Championships. The 200m is not a Paralympic event.


Goh with fellow swimmer and good friend Yip Pin Xiu (left) at the 8th Asean Para Games last year. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

Last year's Asean Para Games (APG) in Singapore was the eighth straight time Goh competed at the biennial Games, and she has the medals to show for it.

She bagged five golds in her seven events at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

With 27 golds in total, she is Singapore's most successful athlete at the APG.


Goh does chin-ups under the watchful eye of her conditioning coach in 2012. PHOTO: ST FILE

She is known better by her swimming, but Goh is also a decent powerlifter.

She picked up the sport - in which athletes' upper-body strength is tested through bench presses - in 2009 and won a bronze at the Arafura Games in Darwin on her competitive debut. She lifted 66.97kg in the 60kg then but has a personal record of 90.25kg.