Para athletes hope to break down barriers

Para athletes hope to break down barriers

When the 8th ASEAN Para Games come to town next year, the Republic's medal charge will be led by serial winners Yip Pin Xiu, Nurulasyiqah Taha and Theresa Goh.

These champions will be joined by table tennis player Jason Chee, the navy serviceman who lost his limbs in a work accident in 2012.

For swimmer Yip, who won silver in the women's 100m backstroke S6 event at the 2014 ASEAN Para Games in Myanmar, she relishes the buzz of performing in front of her home crowd.

"It acts as motivation instead of pressure," said Yip, 22, who also won Singapore's first gold medal at an Olympic-level event when she won the women's 50m backstroke final at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing.

"It is not every day that Singaporeans get to see a para athlete in action so it will be good for them to get to know us."

That view was echoed by Nurulasyiqah, 29, who won gold in two boccia events in Myanmar.

"Besides having home support behind us, having the Para Games in Singapore will also help raise awareness within the community for para sports and athletes.

"All of us are hoping that this will eventually spur more Singaporeans to get involved with us."

Yesterday, the ASEAN Para Games organising committee announced that the eighth edition of the Games will have 15 sports, which is the highest number in the meet's history.

The biennial Games started in Kuala Lumpur in 2001.

The sports that will be contested in Singapore next year from Dec 3-9 include new events badminton, sailing, shooting and bowling. However, sitting volleyball, an event contested at the 2014 Games in Myanmar, will not return to the roster.

The 11 sports retained are archery, athletics, boccia, chess, five-a-side football, seven-a-side football, goalball, powerlifting, swimming, table tennis and wheelchair basketball.

While most of the sports will be contested at the Singapore Sports Hub, some, like bowling, will be conducted at other venues yet to be confirmed.

The committee also said that Marina Bay Sands will be the meet's official Games Village.

Lim Teck Yin, executive committee chairman of the Singapore ASEAN Para Games organising committee, said: "We are confident that the amenities available for the para-athletes will allow them the ease of accessibility and comfort throughout the Games."

This article was first published on August 30, 2014
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