SINGAPORE - She is the only para-athlete in the organising committee for the 8th ASEAN Para Games set to be held in December next year, and she is confident of giving an athlete's perspective to the team.
Singapore's ASEAN Para Games Organising Committee held its first meeting yesterday, and Paralympian gold medallist Yip Pin Xiu was one of 15 members, led by chairman Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and deputy chairman Sam Tan, Minister of State, Prime Minister's Office & Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.
Speaking to The New Paper, Pin Xiu, 22, said: "Hosting the Para Games will be different than the Southeast Asia (SEA) Games. And as the only athlete in the team, I can give a wholesome view on hospitality, like how to make sure that all the wheelchair requirements for the athletes are met, and they have a smooth time getting around."
The swimmer won gold at the 2008 Summer Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, in the 50m backstroke, and also bagged a silver in the 50m freestyle.
With the SEA Games set to be held in Singapore from June 5 to 16 next year, and the Para Games to follow from Dec 3 to 9, Pin Xiu knows that it is a very big year for sports in the country.
She said: "The SEA Games is more competitive, so it'll be very exciting for the fans.
"The Para Games is also very exciting, but the whole event is also inspiring.
"To know that these athletes have overcome such big odds to get where they are is very inspirational and heartwarming, and it also helps to increases public awareness on disabled sports."
The biennial Para Games is expected to host over 2,000 athletes and officials and will feature 12 to 15 sports held mainly at the new Singapore Sports Hub and Kallang area.
While issues like accessibility will be a concern, Pin Xiu believes that the Sports Hub will be able to cater to their needs.
She said: "I was just at the Sports Hub in April, and it really is a world-class facility.
I had no problems getting around the whole place when I visited.
"Of course, with so many para-athletes coming in for the Games, more temporary ramps will have to be installed, and this is one of the areas that as an athlete, I'll be able to help the team with.
"I can't wait for the Games," she added.
"When I visited the OCBC Aquatic Centre, I imagined how it would be like to swim with the crowd cheering there, and it gave me goose bumps."
This article was first published on June 27, 2014.
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