SINGAPORE: After more than a decade of trying, Singapore’s Theresa Goh has finally made it to the podium at the Paralympics.
On Monday (Sep 12) morning, Singapore time, the 29-year-old Goh touched home in third place in the women’s SB4 100m breaststroke final in in Rio de Janeiro.
Her time of 1min 55.55s was a second off the Asian record she had set in the morning heats when she qualified second fastest behind world record holder Sarah Louise Rung of Norway.
Rung duly took the gold with 1:44.94, while silver went to Italy's Giulia Ghiretti (1:50.58). One of Singapore’s best-known and longest-serving para athletes, Goh made her Paralympic debut in 2004 in Athens where she finished fifth in the 100m breaststroke, her pet event. Despite consistently making the podium in various meets, including 27 gold medals at the ASEAN Para Games, a medal at the Paralympics had continued to elude her until now.
Goh’s opening race in Rio saw her finishing last in the S5 200m freestyle heat last Thursday when she elected to swim the slower breaststroke for her opening 50m.
Speaking afterwards, she said that was her way of dealing with tournament jitters, and could afford to do so in an event where she was not a contender.
She told the TODAY paper: “I kind of always need that first race to get my nerves out of the way a little bit.
“My coach and I had a plan which was to use the race to benefit me for my next race. So that time for the first 50m breaststroke (52.99sec) is a good indication of what I can go out over the 100m."
Goh’s bronze medal adds to the gold that Yip Pin Xiu won last Saturday in the women’s S2 100m backstroke, which had been achieved in world record time.
Goh has two more events to come – the S5 50m freestyle and the S5 100m freestyle – while Yip is a gold medal contender for Friday’s S2 50m backstroke event.