Meet the athletes representing Team Singapore at the 2020 Paralympic Games

10 Singaporean athletes will compete in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo this year - here’s who they are.

Naren Sankar

Nostalgic man, never giving up. Loves cartoons.

Published: 19 August 2021, 11:11 AM

10 athletes will be representing Team Singapore at the upcoming Paralympic Games in Tokyo from Aug 24 to Sep 5 this year.

The athletes will be competing in Swimming, Archery, Cycling, Athletics, Equestrian and Powerlifting.

Here is a closer look at all of them.

Nur'Aini Mohamad Yasli - Para Powerlifting

Aini currently has a job as a Senior Executive with the School of Sports, Health and Leisure (SHL) at Republic Polytechnic. PHOTO CREDIT: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

Singapore’s first representative in powerlifting at the Paralympic Games, Aini will compete in the up to 45kg Women’s Powerlifting event. The 29-year-old set her personal best of 81kg just in June at the World Para Powerlifting World Cup in Dubai, winning the bronze medal at the same time.

Aini started in the sport only in 2017 by chance, but quickly showed her promise after a fourth-placed finish in the 2018 Asian Para Games.

The talented Aini began swimming in Primary School as a way of fighting asthma, before trying out archery when she was in Polytechnic. She then tried her hand in dragon boating in University, before setting on powerlifting after being talent-scouted by Singapore para powerlifter Kalai Vanen.

Nur Syahidah Alim - Para Archery

Syahidah is the first Singaporean world champion in para archery. PHOTO CREDIT: SINGAPORE DISABILITY SPORTS COUNCIL

Syahidah became the first Singaporean world champion para archery after she clinched gold at the 2019 World Archery Para Championships.

The 35-year-old was also named Sportswoman of the Year at the 2020 Singapore Disability Sports Awards. She also serves as a chairperson of the Singapore Para Athletes Commission and a member of the Asian Paralympic Committee Athletes Commission, where she contributes to the development of para sports in the region.

Syahidah will compete in the Compound Open event in Tokyo.

Yip Pin Xiu - Para Swimming

Yip Pin Xiu is a Meritorious Service Medal winner for her performance at the 2008 Paralympics.

A former Nominated Member of Parliament and three-time Paralympic gold medallist, Pin Xiu holds the world record for the 50m split and 100m Backstroke S2 titles, clocking a time of 59.38 and 2:07.09 respectively at the 2016 Paralympics.

She followed that up by taking gold at the 2018 Asian Para Games in the 50m Backstroke S4 (1.2.09), as well as a double bronze in 50m Freestyle S4 (1.4.68) and 100m Freestyle S4 events.

She was Singapore’s first Paralympic gold medallist, after winning the 50m backstroke in the 2008 Paralympic Games. She also picked up a silver medal in the 50m freestyle that same year.

Pin Xiu will hit the pool again in the upcoming Games in the 50m backstroke S2 and 100m backstroke S2.

Sophie Soon - Para Swimming

Sophie Soon won three gold medals in the 2016 National Para-Swimming Championship. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/SINGAPORE DISABILITY SPORTS COUNCIL

Sophie started swimming at eight years old and made her competitive debut at the 2015 ASEAN Para Games a decade later. A year later, she bagged three gold medals in the 2016 National Para-Swimming Championship.

She has a personal best timing of 1:27.48 for the Women’s 100m Breaststroke, which she will compete in alongside the 100m Butterfly at the Paralympics.

Outside of swimming, Sophie is also a talented violinist. She has also performed at the President’s Star Charity Show, alongside The Sam Willows in 2014.

Toh Wei Soong - Para Swimming

One of Toh Wei Soong’s favourite books is Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. PHOTO CREDIT: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

The 2020 Paralympics is Wei Song’s first. The 22-year-old will compete in the 50m Freestyle, 50m Butterfly and 400m Freestyle.

Interestingly, Wei Soong started swimming at the age of six, only as a form of therapy.

At the 2018 Asian Para Games, he won three medals – gold in the Men’s 50m Freestyle and Men’s 100m Freestyle, and a bronze in the Men’s 100m Backstroke.

Muhammad Diroy - Para Athletics

Muhammad Diroy is the flag bearer for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. PHOTO CREDIT: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

Diroy made his international debut at the 2016 China Open Athletics Championships and surprised everyone with a gold medal at the men’s shot put F40 event. He had taken up shot put and field javelin only three years earlier.

At the last Paralympics, he placed 9th out of 10 in the shot put F40, although earlier this year achieved a personal best.

Diroy will once again take part in the shot put F40 event at the Paralympics this year.

Laurentia Tan - Para Equestrian

Laurentia Tan will make her fourth Paralympics appearance. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/TEAM SINGAPORE

Bagging three bronze and one silver medal in the previous Paralympic Games, Laurentia Tan will compete in the Individual Grade 1 Dressage and the Individual Freestyle Grade 1 Dressage events, as well as the Para Dressage team event with Gemma Foo and Maximillian Tan this year.

Laurentia rode her name into Singapore’s history in 2008 when she won the first Paralympic medal for the Republic – a bronze medal for the Individual Championship Test class 1a event.

Gemma Foo - Para Equestrian

Gemma Foo took up riding as a form of therapy when she was eight and was picked by national coach, Volker Eubel, to join the national equestrian team when she was 14. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/MDIS

Gemma Foo competed in her first competition in 2008 at the Singapore Disability Sports Council National Disability League. She then represented Singapore at the Hope Cup competition in Taiwan in 2010 and then, rode in the Paralympic Games at 16 when she joined the first Asian Para Equestrian team to compete at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

Gemma recently placed third in the Freestyle Test Grade I at the Pferd International München 2021.

In 2016, she fell from her horse and ruptured her spleen while training for the Paralympics in Rio. Instead of giving up, she recovered and still managed to make it for the Games, where she placed 24th out of 26 riders in the Individual Championship Test Grade 1a event.

This spirited lady will again try her best in the Paralympics this year.

Maximillian Tan - Para Equestrian

Maximillian Tan has represented Singapore at the 2012 London Paralympics and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/MAXIMILLIAN TAN CHERN

Max was an avid sailor and represented Singapore in international sailing competitions before deciding to move to equestrian in 2006. He had been horse riding for therapeutic purposes prior to taking it up competitively.

Max made his Paralympic debut at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, He also competed at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, for which he received a special mention in Parliament. As a Paralympian, he hopes to raise awareness of both the equestrian sport and disabilities.

Through all his ups and downs, Max has had a good sense of humour, describing himself as crazy, thankful and realistic.

Steve Tee and Ang Kee Meng - Para Cycling

Steve Tee left his job as a supervisor at a call centre last year to train full time. PHOTO CREDIT: SINGAPORE DISABILITY SPORTS COUNCIL

Steve Tee and his sighted pilot, Ang Kee Meng, work as a unit to do Tandem Cycling. The pair secured their slots at Tokyo last year, after obtaining gold at the Thailand Para Cycling Cup and bronze at the 8th and 9th Para Asian Track Championships in 2019.

Steve was previously part of five-a-side football for the visually impaired in the 8th ASEAN Para Games before making the switch to cycling in 2017. .

They will compete in three events at the Games, including a 32km time trial and a track 4km individual pursuit.

Let’s cheer on all the athletes representing Singapore at the Paralympics!

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