Singapore breaks Asean Para Games gold medal haul
Singapore surpassed its historic Asean Para Games medal haul on Monday morning (Dec 7) after the Republic's swimmers won five gold medals, a silver and three bronzes at the first session of swimming at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
In the first race of the morning session, Theresa Goh won the women's 50m free S5 (S2-S5) in 49.41sec, while teammate Yip Pin Xiu clocked 1:01.23 to take the silver medal, swimming the backstroke. Swimmers are allowed to use any stroke they desire in freestyle events.
Paralympic swimmers are classified according to their disabilities in 14 different classes, with 1 to 10 for athletes with physical impairments, 11 to 13 for the visually impaired and 14 for athletes with intellectual disabilities.
Yip's time for her swim was faster than Chinese swimmer Feng Yazhu's S2 world record of 1:03.00 for the 50m backstroke event, although the Singaporean's swim will not go into the record books as it was not done in a women's 50m backstroke event.
Toh Wei Soong then won Singapore's gold No. 17, clocking 1:21.02 in the men's 100m back S8 to win the race.
Benson Tan then capped off the swimmers' morning session by winning the men's 100m backstroke S14 in 1:12.30, while teammate Lawrence Tay took bronze in the same event in 1:17.14.
Toh, 17, then won his second gold medal of the day in the evening session, clocking 30.27 to take the men's 50m free S8 title.
Tan, 24, also won his second gold of the day in the evening finals, clocking 28.26 to win the men's 50 free S14, while teammate Han Liang Chou took the bronze in 29.10.
Also, Wong Meng Ee clinched a bronze in the men's 50m free S12 in a time of 32.67.
Aim for 21
With the swimmers' performances today, Singapore now have 20 golds, nine silvers and 14 bronzes, surpassing the Republic's haul at the 2001 games in Kuala Lumpur of 16 golds, 10 silvers and 11 bronzes.
Chef-de-mission Raja Singh was understandably happy and challenged the athletes to go for more medals before the games end on Wednesday (Dec 9).
He said: "We broke everything - the past records, the overall medal tally, and now we are just setting a benchmark for the future."
With his pre-Games objective met, Raja has now set the Team Singapore athletes a "simple target" of 21 gold medals for this Games.
He said: "I don't want to put pressure on anyone or myself, but I just want our athletes to push themselves to the limit."
Read the full report in our print edition on Dec 8.
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