Singapore sports star spotlight: Making waves and earning silverware like a boss

PHOTO: Sport Singapore

Toh Wei Soong embodies the hunger and drive of a championship athlete.

The 23-year-old Paralympic swimmer made quite the splash on the global stage last year at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games when he set a new National Record for the Men's 50m Butterfly S7 twice in a day - the first time during the morning heats; and then lowering that mark later in the day in the Finals with a time of 29.50s, shaving two seconds off the previous record.

He then went on to shatter his own National Record in the Men's 50m Freestyle S7 Finals with a time of 28.65s to finish 7th. What. A. Stud!

Earlier this month, the Singapore swim star grabbed headlines once again by clinching the Silver medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK. It's clear that Wei Soong is never content resting on his laurels.

Character bio: The para swimmer's toughness of spirit can be traced to the challenges he faced early on as a child. At the age of two, Wei Soong was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a chronic condition that restricts the use of one's legs. There is no known cure for transverse myelitis.

While he was no longer able to run and play like he used to, Wei Soong was undeterred, and dipped his toes into the competitive world of swimming when he was 13. The rest, as they say, is history.

In the decade since, he has bagged an impressive tally of medals - including a bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and two golds in the 2018 Asian Para Games, before his latest conquests on the world stage.

Achievement unlocked: The 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games spelled Wei Soong's official coming-out party - and what a glorious one it was, 

After his epic performance, the then-debutant commented on the race: "[The Men's 50m Butterfly S7] is a really fun race to swim when you know what you're doing. The race tonight, you know - I went out, had fun, did my best."

When he went one better to achieve a podium finish with the silver medal in the men's S7 50m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games, Wei Soong said in an interview with The Straits Times that he was neither disappointed nor unhappy, but acknowledged that it wasn't as fast as he knew he could be, adding: "I can be a lot faster."

The fierce hunger that Wei Soong has to reach the potential that he knows is within him is palpable, to say the least!

At the Singapore Disability Sports Awards 2022 held on July 6, Wei Soong and fellow para-swimmer Yip Pin Xiu were named Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, respectively.

Level up: Wei Soong has his sights set on the 2024 Paris Paralympics next.

Fresh off his Commonwealth Games exploits, he wrote in an Instagram post: "At this moment, I would like to thank everyone who has watched and supported me in following this path to medalling at Paris 2024. This Silver is a stepping stone to that higher goal, but it's good to be racing at a CG again."

We're rooting for the young star to do the country proud on the world stage next year. All the best, champ!

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This article was first published in Wonderwall.sg.