Singapore Disability Sports Awards 2022: Yip Pin Xiu wins third Sportswomen of the Year award

Toh Wei Soong (Sportsman of the Year), Colin Soon (Sportsboy of the Year) and Siti Nurhayati (Sportsgirl of the Year) were also among the award winners.

Muhd Zahin Ilmi

Sports enthusiast and expert overthinker.

Published: 6 July 2022, 10:24 PM

Swimmer Yip Pin Xiu was named Sportswomen of the Year for the third time at the Singapore Disability Sports Awards (SDSA) on Wednesday (Jul 6). 

The 30-year-old, who recently picked up her fifth world championship title at the Madeira 2022 Para Swimming World Championships, won the award previously in 2019 and 2021

Pin Xiu, who is also a council member of the National Youth Council, had beaten out competition from Archery’s Nur Syahidah, Boccia’s Jeralyn Tan and Powerlifting’s Nur’ Aini Yasli. 

Calling it a “special” moment, Pin Xiu said: “Being an athlete, you put in a lot (of effort) and sacrifice a lot, at the end of the day, your journey paints a paints a picture that can advocate and inspire others.

“I hope to continue doing well, especially in my journey to Paris in 2024. My motivation in the recent years is to the desire to want to be better than I was last year. At the same time, I also really want to be able to do make the people around me proud as their support means a lot to me.”

She added that while her goals are to win Paralympic medals and hear the national anthem played at the biggest stages in sports, she also wants to “be a driver in society to make a change on disability awareness and in sports, and being able to get people to lead healthy lives.”

The award ceremony, held at the ParkRoyal @ Beach Road for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, seeks to honour the achievements and contributions made by individuals and groups in the disability sports community. It was attended by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Eric Chua. 

Thirty nominees across nine award categories were featured. 

Apart from Pin Xiu, four other members of the para-swimming community also picked up awards at this year’s SDSA.

Toh Wei Soong, who won the 2019 and 2020 Sportsboy of the Year award, was named Sportsman of the Year for the first time. 

The 23-year-old achieved a fourth place finish in the S7 50m butterfly event at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, setting a national record in the process. He is also set to compete in the 2022 Commonwealth Games, having won Singapore’s first para swimming medal in the Games in 2018.

On his win, Wei Soong said: “I feel that this (first Sportsmen of the Year award) is a transition to another phase of my career where I have become more mature and more experienced.”

He added that training has been going well ahead of the Commonwealth Games, and he feels confident he will “have a good time”.

Colin Soon, 17, was named Sportsboy of the Year. He had earned four gold medals at the Bahrain 2021 Asian Youth Para Games.

Calling it the “beginning of his career” and a “confidence booster”, Collin said: “My greatest source of inspiriation is my sister, who competed in the 2020 paralympics. Ever since she competed, I want to be like her.

“I hope to spread the word about disability, and how it’s not necessarily a challenge that is difficult to overcome, but something to be accepted.”

Two para swimming coaches were also presented with awards at this year’s SDSA.

Pin Xiu’s coach, Mark Chay, was awarded the Coach of the Year (High Performance) at this year’s award ceremony, while Colin’s coach, Roland Tan, won the Coach of the Year (Development) award.

The Sportsgirl of the Year award went to 20-year-old sprinter Siti Nurhayati Binte Ali Aksar Khan, who won a silver at the Asian Youth Para Games 2021. 

Boccia duo Aloysius Gan and Yan Jia Yi, together with their Athlete Competition Partners (ACP) – Aloysius’ father Gan Keng Aik, and Jia Yi’s teacher Lanny Kwok, were also awarded Team of the Year for winning Singapore’s first boccia medal at the Asian Youth Para Games 2021. 

Two non-athlete entities were also honoured during the award ceremony for their significant contributions to the growth of para sports in Singapore over the past year.

The Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Singapore was awarded the Community Impact (Events and Initiatives) award for its consistent efforts in providing therapeutic horse-riding sessions for persons with disabilities.

The second non-athlete award, the Community Impact (Volunteering), was awarded to School of the Arts teacher Mariette Ong. Her contributions include actively engaging her young students to understand para sports and enabling them to become volunteers for SDSC’s outreach programmes. 

She also serves as a trainer for Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC)’s I’mPOSSIBLE para sports education programme. 

A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Mr Tan Ju Seng, who holds the longest tenure as president of SDSC at 12 years, and the first president of the Singapore National Paralympic Council (four years). 

He also led the charge for para sports’ inclusion into Team Singapore’s agenda under an inclusive banner, and set up the Singapore National Paralympic Council. 

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