Wei Soong takes the plunge [Photo by Sport Singapore / Action Images via Reuters]
Team Singapore swimmer Toh Wei Soong added a second medal to his tally after finishing second with a time of 5:08.80 in the 400m freestyle (S8) event at OCBC Aquatic Centre on Sunday.
Toh, who had edged Gawilan to the gold in the 100m Freestyle (S8) event on Friday and set a new Games record in doing so, said this was a momentous win for him despite missing out on the gold.
“It feels amazing because it’s another milestone for me. I broke my personal best and it’s another milestone for me to see the fruits of my labour for the last few months - of the continuous training and the hardships I have gone through,” the 17-year-old said.
Competing in his strongest stroke, Toh was off to the fastest start but Ernie Gawilan soon caught up and the rivals were level for the first 150 metres.
By the third lap, however, Gawilan took the lead and eventually won the race, smashing his own Games record by almost 15 seconds.
Toh, who has suffered from transverse myelitis since he was two-years-old, was born into a family of swimmers and took to the sport as an infant.
“Both my parents were swimmers. And when I was 14-years-old, I went to the 2012 National Para-Swimming Championship, and that was my first foray into competitive swimming,” he said.
“It was where I finally decided that this is something I want to do for the next few years of my life. This is something I want to devote my time to.”
While Toh has competed overseas in international competitions before, this is his first time competing on home ground. And for Toh, there is nothing like home.
“It’s exhilarating. Because you don't get this kind of atmosphere in other international meets. This is something that is exclusive only when you compete in your home country,” said the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student.
“It can never match up to the scale of this. Being on home ground is something that you just don’t get there. It gives you the added edge to push yourself above and beyond.”
Toh has three more events to go and is looking forward to home crowd support to help him break more records and make history.
“It’s thrilling when you hear the crowd shout for you, give you a lot of support, it makes you feel that you can do this. Nothing is going to stop me. You have got hundreds behind your back.”
Theresa Goh won her fourth gold medal in the 200m freestyle S5. The 28-year-old cruised home with a time of 3:38.04s, beating her previous Games record by 13 seconds.