Quah Ting Wen hopes for Paris Olympics outing with siblings , Latest Swimming News - The New Paper

Quah Ting Wen hopes for Paris Olympics outing with siblings

The July 26-Aug 11 Paris Olympics will be Quah Ting Wen’s fourth and final appearance at sport’s pinnacle event.

Not surprisingly, the national swimmer is champing at the bit ahead of the quadrennial Games.

Even though she was at the Tokyo Games just three years ago, she feels that her last “proper” Olympics experience was at the previous edition in Rio 2016.

The 31-year-old was part of the women’s 4x100m medley relay team – including her sister Jing Wen, and Letitia and Levenia Sim – who finished ninth at the World Aquatics Championships on Feb 18 to earn their ticket to Paris, pending ratification by World Aquatics.

Quah was among more than 700 athletes, coaches and officials who were at a Team Singapore reception hosted by President Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the Istana on Feb 29.

This was to celebrate the hard work, contributions and achievements of Team Singapore at the five major Games in 2023 — the SEA Games and Asean Para Games in Cambodia, the Asian Games and Asian Para Games in Hangzhou and the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin.

Speaking to The Straits Times on the sidelines of the reception, Quah said: “The Tokyo Olympics was a bit of a surreal experience just because of Covid-19 and everything that was going on.

“It didn’t really feel like a very big Games and Rio was so long ago that it’s so distant, so I’m actually very, very excited to go for an Olympics where it can be held without much restriction.”

The quartet are Singapore’s first relay side to qualify for the Olympics on merit, and Quah was congratulated on her achievement by President Tharman and his wife, Ms Jane Ittogi. They had a chat before taking a wefie with other swimmers.

While Quah admitted to feeling relieved to have booked her ticket to Paris, she hopes that the coming months will see two other goals fulfilled – to secure an individual berth in the 50m freestyle by hitting the 24.70sec qualification mark and for her brother Zheng Wen to also seal qualification.

Her fastest time this season was 25.34sec set at the Singapore Swim Series on Feb 2. She will have at least three more chances to qualify, including at the March 12-17 Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

Adding that she is “full-steam ahead with preparations”, she said: “My dream has always been to go to the Olympics with both of my siblings. I’ve been to two with my brother. I know sort of pretty much confirmed that I’ll be there with my sister and now we are just waiting for my brother to join us.

“I’ve never been to Paris so it will be a new experience for me and I’m just excited to experience a Games in its fullness. I’m pretty sure this is my last Olympics, but it’d be a great way to celebrate... with my siblings being there.”

In his speech, Mr Tharman said he believes that Singapore’s best years in sports are ahead.

He cited “a much stronger ecosystem for developing our sportspersons, from young”, “much better infrastructure and coaching and specialist support” and “better collaboration and partnerships among the different sport bodies and associations”.

Noting the help through more funding, including the recently announced $20 million top-up of the One Team Singapore Fund, which provides a dollar-for-dollar matching grant for donations towards Singapore athletes, Mr Tharman added: “We can develop sporting excellence among more Singaporeans.

“And through sports, both as participants and as citizens cheering on our teams, we will strengthen our shared identity and multiracial spirit.

“Each of our Team Singapore athletes today are showing the way. We applaud what you are already achieving.”

He added that it was not just the medals “but the stuff in you, that inspires and shows the way”.

He mentioned the “grit and grace” of sprint queen Shanti Pereira, kitefoiler Maximilian Maeder’s “willingness to grow up and learn very differently” and the “mental stamina of the most outstanding long-distance runner in our history” Soh Rui Yong.

Quah was praised for her “versatility”, as Mr Tharman also lauded the “determination” of shot put para athlete Diroy Noordin and the “resilience” of wushu exponent Kimberly Ong, who underwent surgery months before going on to win a bronze at the Hangzhou Asian Games.

Tharman ShanmugaratnamSINGAPORE SPORTSOLYMPICS 2024