Pascoe eyeing greater glory

Left: Singapore's Yip Pin Xiu on her way to the silver medal in the women's 50m backstroke yesterday. She plans to focus on increasing her ability to do the 100m races. Right: New Zealand's Sophie Pascoe, who broke the 200m individual medley world re
Left: Singapore's Yip Pin Xiu on her way to the silver medal in the women's 50m backstroke yesterday. She plans to focus on increasing her ability to do the 100m races. Right: New Zealand's Sophie Pascoe, who broke the 200m individual medley world record yesterday, also set new world marks for the 50m and 100m freestyle at the meet. PHOTOS: LIANHE ZAOBAO, SDSC

Surprised Kiwi looks ahead to Tokyo 2020 after setting third world record yesterday

Sophie Pascoe is New Zealand's most decorated Paralympian, with nine gold and six silver medals across three Paralympic Games.

But the 26-year-old is hungrier than ever ahead of her next year's Games in Tokyo, pushing herself to win even more titles.

The Kiwi set a world record in the women's 200m individual medley (SM9) yesterday, clocking 2min 25.22sec at the World Para Swimming World Series in Singapore.

She bettered South Africa's Natalie du Toit's 11-year-old record of 2:27.83 set at the Beijing Paralympics. It was Pascoe's third world record at the meet which ended yesterday at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

Pascoe, who lost her lower left leg in a lawnmower accident when she was 21/2 years old, also finished first in the event with 1,063 points, ahead of Russia's Valeriia Shabalina (1,053) and American Jessica Long (978).

The World Series uses a standardised multi-class points system, which sees swimmers of different classifications awarded points after their times are compared with the world records in their respective classes.

Pascoe, who also broke the 50m and 100m freestyle (S9) world records at the meet, was surprised by her results and certain she can do even better.

She said: "I feel really overwhelmed. It's been a great meet and I'm in better condition than I expected.

"I'm not really at my peak, but I'm doing some really good times which shows that. With more training under my belt, I'll be in even better condition for the World Para Swimming Championships (in September).

"My ultimate goal is the Tokyo Paralympics and, from what I've done here, it's only a stepping stone to that. To be able to break personal best times and world records, it's not only exciting for myself but also for people who see that and are inspired by that."

Singapore's Toh Wei Soong and Yip Pin Xiu also added a silver medal each yesterday.

Toh, who won gold in the men's 100m freestyle on Friday, finished second in the 50m butterfly with 896 points, sandwiched between China's Wang Jingang (988) and Russia's Andrei Granichka (841).

Yip earned 859 points after finishing behind Turkey's Sumeyye Boyaci (902) and ahead of Japan's Mayumi Narita (837) in the women's 50m backstroke.

The meet has helped both swimmers identify areas to work on ahead of September's world championships in London.

Yip, 27, said: "One thing I must really focus on is increasing my ability to do 100m races, so I have to work on coming back faster, and my stroke and technique as well.

"I hope with this focus, I'll get better times soon as well. These three days have been tiring and I'm ready to take a short break before starting again and continuing to improve."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2019, with the headline 'Pascoe eyeing greater glory'. Print Edition | Subscribe