Singapore paralympian Yip Pin Xiu, 16, astounded everyone and became the pride of the nation when she won the gold in the 50m backstroke at the Beijing Paralympics earlier this year.
Pin Xiu, who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy when she was two years old showed her mettle by breaking not just one, but two world records in the international sporting arena. Muscular dystrophy is a disease that causes the body to degenerate.
Looking at her garnered accolades for her performance in the pool, no one would have realised that her physical condition is actually worsening.
Doctors have told her that she may soon begin to lose her sight, because of the gradual weakening of muscles that is affecting the nerves which control her eyesight.
Pin Xiu can no longer see people or objects that are far away; neither can she see words written on the classroom blackboard at Bendemeer Secondary School, where she studies.
Despite the grim prognosis, Pin Xiu is determined not to live in the shadow of her illness.
In an interview with Shin Min Daily News, she said: "Although my doctor has told me my eye-sight will gradually worsen, I can still slow down the process as long as I continue to swim and keep physically active."
For one so young, Pin Xiu's fighting spirit is inspiring, as she proves that a person's courage and determination to beat the odds will not be set back by physical limitations.
She said: "I will still live my life with optimisim, and try my best to enjoy what I am still able to accomplish today."
While she was told the bad news about her worsening eyesight before she left for the Beijing Olympics, she did not let it affect her mood or her performance, even though she was taken aback.
And even though she is uncertain of what her physical condition will be like in a few years time, she is determined not to let it put a stop to her swimming career.
She continues to train regularly, and has her sights set on the 2012 Olympics which will be held in London.
Reminiscing about the time when was first introduced to swimming at age 5, she said, "I'd never have thought then that one day I'd get a chance to represent Singapore at the Paralympics, and actually beat world records too."
Pin Xiu credits all she has achieved today to the support of those around her. She says, "Swimming has made me stronger, happier, and more extroverted. In general, sports has really enriched my life.