Team Singapore's performance at the Bahrain 2021 Asian Youth Para Games (AYPG) has been nothing but awesome - so awesome that it is Singapore's second-best showing at the AYPG ever. This is the fourth edition of the quadrennial games.
Altogether, our amazing athletes are bringing home 10 medals: 5 Gold, 3 Silver, and 2 Bronze.
"Despite some challenges at the start, the team kept their heads down and set out to achieve what they came here to do and I’m incredibly proud of them. Being able to return home with 10 medals and the second-best AYPG performance is icing on top of the cake," said swimmer and Paralymics medallist Theresa Goh, who played the role of Chef de Mission for the Bahrain 2021 AYPG. A chef de mission is a person in charge of a national team at an international sports event.
"I hope the athletes use this experience to push themselves to the next level and beyond, and I look forward to seeing them at future Games."
Added Singapore National Paralympic Council president A/Prof Teo-Koh Sock Miang: "We are ready to return home with wonderful memories of the Games. Most importantly, the entire team is healthy and in great spirits."
Here, a glorious medal tally and some inspiring words from those who bagged them, and achieved Personal Bests and National Records.
Siti Nurhayati Bte Ali Aksar Khan
Event and achievement: • Women’s U20 T20 400m, Silver
The fastest Singaporean athlete in the Intellectual Impairment category shone brightly under the floodlights, taking home the Silver medal. She achieved her target of a medal at the games, and earns the nation's mad respect for showing strength through adversity - making it to the starting line in Bahrain even after a recent loss in her family.
"I listened to my coach’s instructions and did my best," said Siti. "I feel very proud of myself and I was very proud to see the Singaporean flag flying high."
“It’s quite remarkable, seeing that despite a lot of adversity, with her father’s recent death just a few weeks ago, she has persevered and was determined to come to this competition," said coach Muhamad Hosni. "Her late father is one of the main motivations why she continues to run. Looking ahead, we will be gearing up to qualify for the ASEAN Para Games and Asian Para Games.”
Event and achievement: • BC3 Men’s Individual Event, Gold
Teaming up with his dad Gan Keng Aik, Aloysius makes history by becoming Singapore’s first-ever Boccia medal winner at the AYPG. He defeated South Korean Sion Jeong in a nail-biting finals tiebreaker.
"I am so happy to win Singapore’s first ever Boccia medal at the AYPG. It was a very close match, but I concentrated on what I could do and did my best. It is a wonderful moment for my family and me. I am looking forward to the mixed pair event,” said Aloysius.
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"I am so proud of Aloysius and it is testament to the hard work he has put in together. As his father, to win the medal alongside my son, is an indescribable moment. Thank you everyone for the support and blessing," said Gan Keng Aik, Aloysius' dad and athlete competition partner.
Aloysius Gan and Yan Jia Yi
Event and achievement: • Mixed Pairs BC3 Event, Silver
And that was not the only medal for Team Singapore in Boccia - the mixed pair of Aloysius and Jia Yi bring home a Silver medal after a hard-fought battle against Thailand in the finals. An amazing achievement for the duo!
"I am so happy that both Jia Yi and I will be leaving Bahrain with great results. All the hard work and training has paid off. We would like to thank our family, teachers, friends and everyone who has helped us along the way. We thank them for their words of support and encouragement. I love Boccia and I will continue training hard to do Singapore proud," said Aloysius.
"I am very happy that Aloysius and I managed to combine to clinch a silver for Singapore. I have learned a lot from this competition and there are things that we will work on to improve. I am already looking forward to competing internationally again soon," said Jia Yi.
Colin Soon Jin Guang
Events and achievements: • Men’s 12-16 400m Freestyle S11-13, Gold (Personal Best and National Record) • Men’s 12-16 100m Breaststroke SB11-13, Gold • Men’s 12-16 200m Individual Medley SM11-13, Gold (Personal Best and National Record) •Men’s 12-16 100m Freestyle S11-13, Gold (Personal Best and National Record)
Colin has truly made a splash at the AYPG, with an incredible 4 Gold medal haul. Not only that, he set personal bests and broke the national record twice for his 400m Freestyle (5:00.64) and 100m Freestyle (1:02.00). Will he be our next Pin Xiu? We can’t wait to see how this golden boy makes his mark at Paris 2024 along with his sister, Sophie Soon.
Winning words:“Getting four gold medals in four events was possible, but not entirely expected. I’ll go home and celebrate the victories with my family. Looking ahead, I will continue working hard and focusing on improving my techniques,” said Colin. “To sum up my second AYPG, while I knew what to expect, it was still a novel experience. There were a lot of surprises and things to adapt to and I’m glad I managed to do so and make Singapore proud.”
Events and achievements: • Men’s 16-18 200m Freestyle S14, Bronze (Personal Best) • Men’s 17-18 200m Individual Medley SM14, Bronze (Personal Best)
In addition to winning two Bronze medals, Darren also broke five of his personal best records at the pool - a spectacular outing for the 18-year-old at Bahrain. He's definitely well on his way to his goal of qualifying for the upcoming Paralympic Games.
Winning words: “I feel great to receive two bronze medals and five PBs in this games,” said Darren. "I look forward to representing Singapore at the next major games."
Events and achievements: • Men's Mixed Team T6-8 Event, Silver
Looks like Caleb is well on his way to emulating his idol, Chinese table tennis G.O.A.T. Ma Long. Teaming up with Kuwaiti Mohammad Alrashidi and Filipino Linadr Sultan, the trio bagged the Silver medal in the mixed team event.
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This article was first published in Wonderwall.sg.