Team Singapore’s Rio Paralympics double Gold medallist Yip Pin Xiu was hailed as a role model for the future generation of Singaporean para athletes after her triumph in the Women’s 50m Backstroke (SB2) Final on Thursday.
After winning Gold in Beijing 2012 Paralympic Games, Pin Xiu became the first Singaporean to win two Gold medals in the same Paralympics with her latest triumph at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium.
TeamSG swimmer Yip Pin Xiu won her second Gold medal in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Photo: Sport Singapore
“I am so proud of the girls. We know how hard they have been training and they really put their heart and soul into their races and we are so happy for them that their hard work has borne fruit,” said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, who was in Rio and congratulated the team after the victory.
“People have shown that they have been getting together with their family early in the morning to catch this race. Many of them are sending me well wishes and want us to thank these girls for bringing so much pride to Singapore,” added Minister Fu.
“I think the most important thing is trying to build a pipeline of young swimmers. We would like to promote disability sport at the grassroots level. We have very, very good role models at an excellent level but we also want to encourage more people to take up the sport and just to enjoy the physical and emotional well-being that sports will give to anyone, including those who are disabled,” she added.
That was a sentiment shared by Team Singapore swimming coach Mick Massey, with the Englishman believing Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh can be the vanguard of a fresh generation of talented para-swimmers.
TeamSG swimmers Yip Pin Xiu (left) and Theresa Goh (right) with their coach Mick Massey (center). Photo: Sport Singapore
“It is an unbelievable achievement. I am just so pleased for Singapore, I really am. Hopefully this can be the start of something big for them. Looking at Tokyo and getting a bigger team, these guys are an amazing example for those coming through. I am just so over the moon for them, I really am,” Mick, who has produced outstanding improvements in performance for the two swimmers under his charge.
Theresa said that Pin Xiu had coped well with her nerves to ensure she delivered on her talent.
“I had no doubt in her ability. She was a little bit nervous before her race which is normal,” said Theresa.
“I just let her prepare the best way she could. It was not her first race, she has got so much experience. I had no doubt that she was going to do well,” she said.
TeamSG swimmer Yip Pin Xiu (center) with her parents Yip Chee Khiong (left) and Margaret Chong (right). Photo: Sport Singapore
Pin Xiu’s mother Margaret Chong, who had travelled to Rio to watch the race with father Yip Chee Khiong, was overwhelmed by the joyful celebrations after the medal ceremony but still found a moment to thank those who had helped her daughter on her way to glory.
“I want to thank the coach and Team Singapore, the staff that are behind her and all Singaporeans who have been supporting her as well and our family and friends supporting her at home. We are very happy that all her hard work paid off,” she said.
As the Team Singapore delegation took photographs together and praised the achievement of Pin Xiu, the golden girl herself, was beginning to realise the scale of her achievement.
“I don’t think there are words that can describe my emotions, there are so many emotions right now,” she said.
“I am so grateful to the team and to the Singaporeans and the support they have shown us. The support has been massive and hopefully it goes on.”
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