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Golden Start for Team Singapore in the Pool

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Women's 100m Freestyle - S5 (S1-S5) Timed Final Gold medallist Theresa Goh (R) and silver medallist Yip Pin Xiu pose with Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong [Photo by Sport Singapore / Action Images via Reuters]

Team Singapore claimed its first gold medal of the 8th ASEAN Para Games on the opening morning of competition with the ever-popular Theresa Goh winning the women’s 100 metres freestyle S5 in impressive fashion.

‘TG’, as she is known by her adoring fans, finished in 1min 45.51seconds with team-mate and Yip Pin Xiu taking silver with a time of 2:11.86. Vietnam’s Danh Thi My Thanh took bronze (2:18.50).

The triumph was the 28-year-old Goh’s 23rd gold in her eighth ASEAN Para Games and left her delighted.

“I'm really honoured to win Singapore's first gold of the Games. Before the race I was feeling quite hesitant, and kept turning to Pin Xiu for assurance. To win any medal would have been good, but the gold was a bonus,” she said.

While Goh’s victory was widely anticipated, huge credit must go to Yip who was competing three classes up, meaning she was up against more able-bodied swimmers.

"I never expected to win a medal because I usually compete in the S2, the timing was good as well, so I'm very pleased,” said the 2008 Paralympic gold medallist, whose pet event is backstroke.

Swimmers are allowed to swim any stroke they wish to in freestyle events at the APG.

Goh will be swimming in her favourite event later on Friday in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB4 class. She is entered for seven events at this year’s APG.

han liang chou

Men's 100m Breaststroke - SB14  - Timed Final - Singapore's Han Liang Chou celebrates winning [Photo by Sport Singapore / Action Images via Reuters]

Team Singapore’s second gold in the OCBC Aquatic Centre came shortly afterwards when Han Liang Chou won the men’s 100 metres breaststroke SB14 with a new personal best of 1:19.06.

The medal was the biggest success in Han’s swimming career so far — in the 2011 APG he claimed bronze in the 50m Backstroke S14.

lawrence tay

Men's 100m Breaststroke - SB14  - Timed Final - Singapore's Tay Wei Siang Lawrence in action [Photo by Sport Singapore / Action Images via Reuters]

Team-mate Tay Wei Siang Lawrence claimed the bronze for Singapore with a time of 1:20.38, his season’s best time.