Swimmers Yip Pin Xiu, Toh Wei Soong pick up top accolades at Singapore Disability Sports Awards
Yip Pin Xiu has been a dominant force in the pool in the past decade and her feats in 2022 saw her pick up her fourth consecutive Sportswoman of the Year gong at the Singapore Disability Sports Awards on Wednesday.
At the 2022 World Para Swimming Championships in Madeira, she defended her 50m and 100m backstroke S2 titles, setting a world record in the latter.
The five-time Paralympic champion, who has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a progressive nerve condition, also shattered four world records at the 2022 Australian Short-Course Championships.
Out of the pool, the 31-year-old has been a vocal champion for inclusivity. She served as the co-chairperson of the 2023 Purple Parade organising committee and was also involved in the 2022 Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) charity golf event, which raised $500,000.
Yip’s efforts were recognised at the award ceremony organised by SDSC at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre.
She was nominated for the Sportswoman of the Year award alongside Faridah Salleh (lawn bowls), Maisarah Hassan (athletics), Nur Syahidah Alim (archery), Nur Aini Yasli (powerlifting) and Sophie Soon (swimming).
Taking home the Sportsman of the Year award was fellow swimmer Toh Wei Soong, who clinched the men’s 50m freestyle S7 silver at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. It was also Singapore’s first silver medal in para-sports at the quadrennial competition.
This is the second time that the 25-year-old, who has transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord which restricts the use of his legs, has won the award.
He was up for the Sportsman gong with lawn bowlers James Joseph Michael, Mahendran Pasupathy, Mawjit Singh and Khirmern Mohamad, Diroy Noordin (athletics) and Tay Wei Ming (badminton).
Like Yip, Toh has also been an advocate for various causes, participating in initiatives such as the 2022 SDSC charity golf event.
In 2022, Wei Soong also undertook a documentary project titled The Lives Of Farrer Park to celebrate the stories of individuals who had a connection with sport in Farrer Park, particularly during the area’s redevelopment.
This documentary was later showcased as part of the Singapore Heritage Fest in May, highlighting his multifaceted contributions and commitment to preserving and promoting the shared heritage and stories of the community.
The Team of the Year award went to 2022 Asean Para Games boccia gold medallists Aloysius Gan and Toh Sze Ning, as well as their competition partners Kagan Gan, who is also Aloysius’ father, and Chew Zi Qun. This is the second consecutive year that 17-year-old Aloysius has clinched the Team award.
Wong Zhi Wei, who won two swimming gold medals at the 2022 Asean Para Games, earned the Sportsboy of the Year title. His sporting achievements come on the back of a kidney transplant he had three years ago and he continues to manage his health while on medication.
Bowler Adelia Naomi Yokoyama, who amassed eight medals, including six golds, at the Deaflympics and South-east Asian Deaf Games in 2022, secured the Sportsgirl of the Year award.
SDSC executive director Kelly Fan said: “As Singapore’s disability sports scene grows, it’s crucial to acknowledge that our para athletes’ incredible achievements are thanks to the whole community’s support.
“Likewise, the rising awareness of their successes has boosted the overall support for our community. We aim to highlight these combined contributions to showcase the diverse successes individuals with disabilities can achieve in para-sports and the varied roles stakeholders can play in empowering these achievements.”
Sportsman of the Year: Toh Wei Soong (swimming)
Sportswoman of the Year: Yip Pin Xiu (swimming)
Sportsboy of the Year: Wong Zhi Wei (swimming)
Sportsgirl of the Year: Adelia Naomi Yokoyama (bowling)
Team of the Year: Aloysius Gan Kai Hong, athlete competition partner (ACP) Kagan Gan and Toh Sze Ning, ACP Chew Zi Qun (boccia)
Coach of the Year (High Performance): William Woo (bowling)
Coach of the Year (Developmental): Goh Chyuan (table tennis)
Spirit of Sport (Male): Dexter Goh (wheelchair basketball)
Spirit of Sport (Female): Nurulasyiqah Mohd Taha (boccia)
Spirit of Sport (Team): Singapore Rollers (powerchair football)
Coach (Community): Lanny Kwok (boccia)
Community Changemaker: PlayBuddy
Event of the Year: Run for Inclusion
Volunteer of the Year: Yeo Jia Chyang (swimming)