by Nithya Christie
When people ask me what is the most challenging part of my day, my answer usually takes them by surprise because it has nothing to do with my disability; waking up at 5.30am in the morning.
I was born with Spina Bifida, my spinal cord was not fully formed and hence this affected the use of my lower limbs. On land, my mobility is often challenged by the physical infrastructure and spaces. However, in the water, there are no limits for me. I can swim wherever and however I like. That is one of the main reasons why I love swimming. It gives me the freedom that I don’t get to enjoy on land.
I first picked up my swimming classes at the age of 5. It started off as just a form of rehabilitation and exercise but eventually turned into a much bigger dream. Swimming has become a huge part of my life now and I just hope to keep doing what I love and bring glory to the nation.
The greatest credit goes to my parents for who I am today. It was never easy bringing up a child with a disability but my parents remained strong through it all. They brought me up with little special treatment and instilled in me the independence I needed as I was growing up. They taught me that regardless of my disability, I could do everything I wanted. It was this mindset that allowed me to build a strong belief in myself and allowed me to grow up a very happy child.
While I grew up a pretty joyful child, I am after all, still human. There have been times I was down in the dumps. However, I learned that life is too short to be spent unhappy. Over the past few years, I have grown to believe in three things that are key to my happiness: be brave, be kind, and be yourself. These three things keep my spirits high and my heart light.
As the 8th ASEAN Para Games draws near, I am slowly shifting gears. Preparations are in full swing and my excitement keeps growing. With the Games being held on home turf for the first time, it will really be nice to have our fellow Singaporeans turning up at the venues and cheering us on.
It is also my dream that as Singapore progresses into its next 50 years, our country becomes more accessible to people of all abilities and para sports gains momentum and even more recognition.