SINGAPORE: Team Singapore’s medal-winning Paralympic swimmers Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh both received cash awards from the Singapore National Paralympic Council (SNPC) on Wednesday night (Dec 14), for their achievements at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
Yip, who won two golds, took home S$400,000, while Goh received S$50,000 for her bronze.
Paralympic medallist Yip Pin Xiu receiving the cheque for winning two golds. (Photo: Noor Farhan)
The two swimmers were presented with their cheques at the Athletes’ Achievement Awards reception held at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre, with Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu as the guest-of-honour.
Bronze medallist Theresa Goh receives S$40,000 for her achievement in Rio de Janeiro. (Photo: Noor Farhan)
"We are really honoured to receive the cash award," said Goh. "It’s been a really long one- to two-year journey since we started (training) with coach Mick (Massey). It has been super fun and that was the point of the training, which was to be fun and fulfilling at the same time. I think we’re really happy with the whole outcome."
Goh said most of the money will go to their savings, but she quipped: "Some has honestly been spent already."
In September, 24-year-old Yip made history by setting a new world record in the women’s 100m backstroke S2, en route to winning gold in the event. Days later, she followed that up with another gold medal, this time in the 50m backstroke S2.
Goh's bronze in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB4 rounded off Team Singapore’s best medal showing in the Paralympics since making its debut at the 1988 edition of the Games in Seoul.
Said Yip of Goh's sporting journey: "Theresa started before me. She started at a time when disability sport wasn't in the home page of the papers. It wasn't even considered sport.
"I came in at a time when it was already considered a sport. Not that long later, maybe four or five years later than her. But still not a lot of people knew about it," she said to Channel NewsAsia.
"It's a very nice thing to witness the growth of Paralympic sport or disability sport in Singapore," added Goh. "Especially for me when I started - from not being even considered real sport to being pretty much on par with able-bodied sport is something that I'm really proud to be witness to."
National para-athletes at the Athletes’ Achievement Awards reception on Wednesday. (Photo: Noor Farhan)
Chairman of SNPC Kevin Wong also drew attention to the importance of sport as part of rehabilitation for the disabled.
"I’ve seen many kids who came with a lack of confidence - where their disability has been a challenge for them - but after coming through a sports programme, you see a change and you see their confidence. So I think a lot of them view sports that way," he told Channel NewsAsia. "Money is good, but it’s not everything."
Goh concurred, saying: "Monetary award aside, it's all about the mindset and how people view us, and not really about how much people give, even though that is a small factor.
"Hopefully, with how much it's been in the public eye recently, people will be able to move in the right direction."