Team Singapore’s Golden Girl did it again!
Yip Pin Xiu won her second Gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on Thursday with another triumph, this time in the Women’s 50m Backstroke S2 event.
TeamSG swimmer Yip Pin Xiu celebrates her win with coach Mick Massey (back). Photo: Sport Singapore
Six days after her victory in the Women’s 100m Backstroke S2 event, Pin Xiu was back on the podium again, to become Singapore’s first athlete to win two Gold medals in the same Paralympics.
The victory takes her career Paralympics Gold medal tally to three, a double in Rio following the Women’s 50m Backstroke (S3) at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games eight years ago.
“I have had sleepless nights for the last few nights, from the excitement and then the nerves because I knew this one would be a lot closer, the times were a lot closer,” she said.
“It was scary but I knew that as long as I could give it my all, I would be able to come out with a good time and I am glad I did that,” she said.
“It has been nice to see Singaporeans being even more supportive of us. I wouldn’t say that the pressure was on but there was just even more motivation not to let people down,” she said.
That pressure didn’t faze her though.
“I guess because I have been racing so many years, I know that as long as I have given my best then I will be happy with it and I am sure the people who clearly support us would also be happy with us. I am happy it is a Gold medal and I am so thankful for all the support,” she said, adding she was delighted to hear that supporters had gathered at her alma mater Bendemeer Secondary School to cheer her on.
Together with the teachers and students of Bendemeer Secondary School, friends of Pin Xiu gathered at her alma mater to catch her 50m Backstroke Final. Photo: Sport Singapore
A remarkable week at the Olympics Aquatics Stadium, the same venue where Joseph Schooling won his Olympic gold in the Men’s 100m Butterfly, also included a Bronze for Theresa Goh in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB4 Final.
“I think when I look back at the big picture, Rio will have been a very memorable Games. Not just because I won two gold medals but also because Theresa managed to win a Bronze medal after so many years of trying and also this time has been our largest team and it is nice to know that para sports in Singapore is growing and hopefully will continue to grow,” she said.
Pin Xiu said she believes the wonderful reaction from the Singaporean public to the successes in the pool indicate a new level of understanding and support for the para-athletes.
“I think 2008 was just the very start of more people being aware of para sports. There was more interest after that win but over the years, with our athletes doing pretty well, there has been more and more support.”
“And it is really nice that a lot of Singaporeans give an equality. It is just very humbling to see that and of course as athletes we will continue to do our part by producing good performances,” she added.
TeamSG swimmer Yip Pin Xiu in action in the Women's 50m Backstroke (S2) event. Photo: Sport Singapore
Pin Xiu made a strong start but showed her true prowess around the 15 metre mark when she pulled away from the pack, and her stamina and power was evident as she held off a strong effort from China’s Feng Yazhu, who was the defending champion from London four years ago.
Feng Yazhu took silver with 1:02.66s, with bronze going to Ukraine’s Iryna Sotska with 1:17.22s.
“There wasn’t really a game plan in this race - the plan was really just to go all-out and leave everything in the pool and I can say that I did that,” said Pin Xiu.
Technical problems at the pool meant the race was delayed by over 20 minutes but Pin Xiu coped well with that unexpected hiccup.
“I wasn’t feeling optimal but I guess everyone else had to wait the same amount of time. We just had to make the best of the circumstance and see who had more to give,” she said.
We certainly got the answer in the pool.
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