5 inspirational athletes of APG 2015
10 December, 2015
At the tender age of 17, Anchaya Katkeaw was crowned the most decorated athlete of the 8th APG thanks to a whopping seven gold medals in the pool, from events such as butterfly, freestyle, breaststroke and individual medley. The crowd at the OCBC Aquatic Centre even bore witness to her breaking Games records for three of her swims!
Subjected to jibes and ridicule when she was younger, the SM9 swimmer was determined to turn these bad experiences into motivation and she undoubtedly proved her critics wrong at this APG.
Photo: Seow Gim Hong / SAPGOC
“You don’t do anything other than just try hard. Try harder and prove that you can do it, and you will see the result,” she said.
Crediting her current success to hard work, Anchaya has set sights on qualifying for the Paralympics very soon.
When Dian David Mickael Jacobs, or David Jacobs for short, was crowned the winner of the national table tennis championship in 2000, seeing off able-bodied athletes in the process, he made the Indonesian public sit up and pay attention. Now, with his recent sweep of three gold medals in class 10 – Men’s Singles, Doubles and Team - at the APG, he has earned their adoration.
Formerly part of the able-bodied national table tennis team, where he famously clinched a silver medal for doubles at the 2005 SEA Games and a bronze medal two years later, David harboured hopes of one day representing his country at the Olympics.
Although he did not manage to bring that dream to fruition, having made the switch to para sport after 2010, that hasn’t stopped him from setting his sights on the next big stage – the Paralympics.
“I never stopped believing in myself," he said in an interview with The Straits Times last week.
"That’s what it takes to get you where you want to go."
Jerrold Pete Mangliwan
Responsible for nearly a third of his country’s medal haul in athletics, Filipino T52 wheelchair racer Jerrold Pete Mangliwan picked up 8th APG gold medals in the Men’s 100m and 200m races as well as a silver medal in the Men’s 400m event.
A late bloomer who took up wheelchair racing just six years ago, Jerrold trained daily for many months in preparation for the APG, but he has certainly made the hard work count.
Photo: Sanketa Anand / SAPGOC
"When you look at the medals, what it means for the Philippines, all the pain and repetition is worth it,” he shared with The Straits Times.
Besides being a champion on the track, the 36-yeard old has also been a strong advocate back home, advancing the para athlete cause. He was one of the more vocal Filipino representatives who fought for and succeeded in acquiring higher payouts for para sport medal winners at major competitions. The recent landmark law, passed by the Philippines government last month, will see him take home six times the amount per APG gold medal than he used to.
Nguyen Thi Thuy
Vietnamese athletics veteran Nguyen Thi Thuy took her overall APG medal tally to 20, after bagging gold medals in the Women’s 100m and 200m event for class T43/44 as well as a bronze medal in the F44 Women’s Long Jump at this year’s Games.
Making her APG debut in 2001, Thuy has proven to be competitor with staying power and watching the 51-year old cross the finish line at 34.01 seconds for her 200m event was certainly inspiring.
“I am very happy,[as] it is always special to win medals in these Games,” she expressed delight with her performance at the Games.
“I love sport. I continue to want to be healthy and active, and I actually feel I have become stronger.”
28-year-old Singaporean swimmer Theresa Goh takes the last spot on the honour roll, but that is by no means an indication of her achievements. In fact, she strolled to victory in five of her events during the 8th APG, which included her speciality of breaststroke, as well as freestyle, butterfly and backstroke races.
Despite enduring a gruelling campaign of seven races in five days, Theresa still managed to smash two Games records along the way, and she certainly won’t be letting up, not with the 2016 Paralympics on the agenda.
Photo: Dyan Tjhia / SAPGOC
“I have been missing the 'fire' for a couple of years and really rediscovered it this year,” she told The New Paper.
"I am really [feeling] good now. I didn't really set out to get medals for my events at these Games, as it was always about my timings, and I have been happy with them so far.”
There is definitely much to look forward to in the pool, with Theresa and compatriot Yip Pin Xiu, who recently broke the S5 world record for the 50m backstroke, in outstanding form.