Paralympics: President Halimah Yacob hails S'pore athletes as an inspiration

SINGAPORE – President Halimah Yacob has urged Singapore’s Paralympians to share their sporting journey and experiences with the community to inspire all Singaporeans to “believe in themselves and pursue their dreams”.

President Halimah was speaking to all 10 athletes who competed at the Aug 24-Sept 5 Tokyo Paralympics over Zoom on Tuesday (Sept 7).

She said: “I hope that you will share your sporting journey and experience with the community. Inspire and encourage other persons with disabilities to also lead an active lifestyle, so that we can build a better sporting nation together.

“Beyond sports, your can-do spirit will serve as a beacon for Singaporeans to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams.”

Addressing the group, which included swimmer Yip Pin Xiu who won two gold medals in Tokyo, President Halimah thanked and congratulated them for their “remarkable achievement” in competing at the Games. She hailed their “sheer effort, determination and can-do spirit” as admirable given the disruptions and uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said: “You have sacrificed so much, and done so with great courage and tenacity. You have demonstrated how you are not constrained by limitations, but instead are driven by what is possible. We are proud of you.”

Yip Pin Xiu won two gold medals in Tokyo. PHOTO: SPORT SINGAPORE

Calling the athletes an inspiration, Madam Halimah also noted that over the past two weeks, many at home were in awe of their performances in Tokyo.

She added: “You have shown us that with hard work and sacrifice, we can realise our dreams. Your achievements also exemplify how a nation as small as ours can punch above its weight.”

Of the 10 athletes, four made their Paralympics debut in Tokyo. They were powerlifter Nur Aini Mohamad Yasli, cyclist Steve Tee and swimmers Toh Wei Soong and Sophie Soon.

(Clockwise from top left) Nur Aini Mohamad Yasli, Steve Tee, with his pilot Ang Kee Meng, Toh Wei Soong and Sophie Soon made their Paralympics debut in Tokyo. PHOTOS: SPORT SINGAPORE, AFP

President Halimah noted that it must have been an exciting experience for the debutants and “one that I hope will fuel your aspirations towards achieving greater heights of sporting excellence”.

“I wish everyone all the best in your pursuit to return to this global stage in the future. We are all behind you as One Team Singapore,” she added.

She also sent her appreciation and recognition to the athletes’ coaches, family, friends and caregivers as well as officials from the Singapore Disability Sports Council, Singapore National Paralympic Council (SNPC) and Singapore Sport Institute SSI).

The virtual session was also attended by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong, SNPC chairman Teo-Koh Sock Miang, SSI chief Toh Boon Yi and chef de mission Shirley Low.

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