Paralympics: Singapore swimmer Yip Pin Xiu is fastest qualifier in 100m backstroke (S2)

Yip Pin Xiu is the defending champion of the event, winning at a world record time of 2min 7.09sec at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
Yip Pin Xiu is the defending champion of the event, winning at a world record time of 2min 7.09sec at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Swimmer Yip Pin Xiu kicked off the Republic's Tokyo Paralympics campaign with a season best in the 100m backstroke (S2) on Wednesday (Aug 25).

She clocked 2min 14.46sec to win her heat, qualifying fastest for the final later on Wednesday (4.40pm Singapore time) and bettering her previous season best of 2min 16.34sec set at the Haw Par National Youth Swimming Championship in March.

China's Feng Yazhu was second in 2min 32.44sec while Japan's Miyuki Yamada was third overall with a time of 2min 34.35sec.

Yip, 29, is the defending champion of the event, winning in a world record time of 2min 7.09sec at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

She is also pencilled in for the 50m backstroke (S2) on Sept 2, in which she also holds the world record

Meanwhile, Sophie Soon made her Paralympic debut in the 100m butterfly (S13) on Wednesday, clocking 1min 28.61sec in the heats. 

She finished last of 18 swimmers overall and did not qualify for the final.

Italian Carlotta Gili placed first overall with a time of 1min 4.16sec, followed by Daria Pikalova of the Russian Paralympic Committee (1min 6.20sec) and Uzbekistan's Shokhsanamkhon Toshpulatova (1min 6.24sec).

Soon's race got off to a rocky start when her goggles fogged up just before she jumped into the pool, leaving her unable to see anything.

The 24-year-old relied on her stroke count to figure out where the wall was and was just glad that she was able to finish the race.

She said: "That was something I didn’t prepare for and I recognise that was an error of mine that I didn’t prepare for this particular situation.

"However, this is something I can learn from. Thankfully, even though there was a bit of a panic in the middle of the race, I managed to finish it and I think that’s the most important thing that the race was completed."

With her first event out of the way, Soon is looking forward to competing in her pet event - the 100m breaststroke (SB12) - on Sept 1.

She said: "We want to achieve a personal best, that’s the main goal for the event and anything more than that would be a cherry on top. 

"I want to be able to look back on that race and confidently say that I did my best regardless of the result. With today, we’ve got some good learning points to take forward to next week."