What's in Theresa Goh's bag

What's in Theresa Goh's bag

National paralympic swimmer Theresa Goh Rui Si does not let her handicap stop her from achieving her dreams.

She has taken part in a myriad of sports, more than an average able-bodied person would do in a lifetime.

"I tried loads of sports even though I entered competitive swimming when I was 12. I played wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, sailing, wheelchair racing, even horse-riding, amongst others," she said.

Despite picking up so many sports at a young age, she decide to stick to swimming and would go on to have much success with it, winning over 20 gold medals since the first ASEAN Para Games in 2001.

Her most recent achievement is getting a silver-medal finish for the 50m freestyle event in the 2014 Asian Para Games.

Her love for swimming started when she was five. She remembered falling in love with the activity straight away while wading in the pool with her parents.

"Most kids love the feeling of being in the water, playing. That was the main reason I got involved in swimming in the first place - by having fun," she said.

Her passion grew from there. Seven years later, at the urging of a volunteer from the Singapore Disability Sports Council, she began to train and compete. Two years later, at 14, she swept the competition at the inaugural ASEAN Para Games with six gold medals and two silver medals.

However, it was not all smooth sailing for Goh. She had to wrestle hard with her decision to swim full-time and postpone her studies at Temasek Polytechnic, where she was pursuing a diploma in moving images.

She decided to swim on, noting that she could continue her education at a later time.

Although she suffered a slight burn-out by the end of the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games and took a break from swimming, she does not regret the decision to swim.

"I would've been happy in a different way if I continued studying, but I wouldn't be the person I am today," she said.

The break from swimming led to her picking up powerlifting and achieving another milestone. She won a bronze medal in the sport at the 2009 Arafura Games in Australia.

However, she soon returned to her first love, swimming. The year of rest helped her renew her love for the pool and she continued to be a tour de force in the region, picking up multiple podium finishes.

Some of these accolades include two bronze medals at the 2014 Asian Para Games and a gold medal in the 50m breaststroke at the 2014 ASEAN Para Games.

Goh's determination and passion through the years have moved her parents, with their mindsets gradually moving from persuading her to study for a diploma or degree to fully backing her as she continues to aim for a Paralympics medal.

She is now looking forward to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, aiming for a medal finish before competitive sport takes a back seat.

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