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Made in Singapore, will they make it in Beijing?
Thu, Sep 04, 2008
The New Paper

BORN here. Bred here.

And polished in Farrer Park.

This morning, Theresa Goh, 21, and Yip Pin Xiu, 16, left for China to take part in the Beijing Paralympics.

When it ends on 17 Sep, they hope to return with a Paralympic medal at least, round their necks.

Will they be overnight heroines like Tao Li, who became Singapore's first athlete to make it to an Olympic swimming final, breaking an Asian record in the process before finishing fifth eventually?

No, they are looking to emulate the Olympic medal-winning success of the women's table tennis trio of Li Jiawei, Feng Tianwei and Wang Yuegu.

The New Paper has constantly tipped Goh and Pin Xiu for a Paralympic medal each.

They go to Beijing as world-record holders too.

Goh is the current world-record holder in the 50m breastroke (52.62sec) in her SB4 disability category.

Athletes under the SB4 category have full use of their arms and hands, but not their trunk or leg muscles.

Goh was born with spina bifida and is paralysed from the waist down.

But her coach Ang Peng Siong said her best Paralympic medal chance lies in the 100m breaststroke.

That's because the 50m and 200m breaststroke events for the SB4 category, will not be held at this year's Paralympic Games.

Personal best

Goh's personal best for the 100m breastroke is 1:58.14, set in May last year at the International German Championships in Berlin.

Her main rival in Beijing - Israel's Inbal Pezaro - finished second then in 2:00.07.

Goh's personal best in the 100m breastroke may still be some way off the retired Frenchwoman Beatrice Hess' world record of 1:54.51, set at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

But with Pezaro her main rival now, the gold could go either way.

Pin Xiu suffers from muscular dystrophy, which is a syndrome that slowly breaks down her muscles as she grows older.

Still, that hasn't stopped her from becoming the world-record holder in her S3 category in the 50m backstroke event (1min 00.80sec), most recently set in April at the US Paralympics swimming trials.

She has suddenly stormed to the forefront, this being her debut Paralympics as opposed to Goh's second Paralympic outing.

And unofficially, in training at the Farrer Park swimming pool - where Ang also coaches her at his APS Swim School - she has recently set a new personal best of 57.5sec.

Ang said: 'I think Pin Xiu's not only looking at a Paralympic medal chance in Beijing but also a new world record.

'She's really come along well, after Theresa.'

Goh, who went to Tampines North Primary and Dunman Secondary, before pursuing swimming full-time, summed up her emotions before leaving for Beijing.

'If I have to look back at this moment, to see what I went through all my life to arrive here, I have to say I feel this burning desire to win something for Singapore.

'I'm impatient, I can't wait for the Paralympics to start. Let's go!'

Pin Xiu, who went to Ai Tong Primary and is now a student at Bendemeer Secondary, had her own declaration.

'Wow, it's not easy to summarise all my dreams in a few words.

'But on the eve of the Paralympics, I can safely say I really feel there might be something special for me, the entire Paralympics team and Singapore in the next two weeks.'

Made in Singapore.

Will they make it in Beijing?
 

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