Coming soon: New fund to help develop disability sports

Nigel Chin
Reporter
Swimmers Theresa Goh (left) and Yip Pin Xiu with their prize money for their medal-winning performances at the Rio Paralympics. Photo: Nigel Chin/Yahoo Singapore

It is their wish to see more disabled athletes coming through the ranks, and swimmers Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh will kick start this process with their contribution to a new sports development fund.

The Singapore National Paralympic Council (SNPC) is looking to set up a new fund for the purpose of developing the next generation of disability sports athletes, chairman Kevin Wong revealed on Wednesday (15 December).

Wong was speaking at the SNPC Athletes’ achievement awards and appreciation reception held at the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre, where Paralympians who represented Team Singapore in Rio were honoured.

More details will be announced soon, said Wong, while stating that the fund will be used to “help, support and inspire athletes”.

“I’m looking forward to the next group of athletes coming forward, the athletes who are beginning their journey. That’s where we are looking at this fund that we are trying to create,” said Wong.

At the reception, Yip and Goh were presented with their monetary awards for their medal-winning performances.

Goh received $50,000 for her bronze medal, while Yip, who won two gold medals and set world records, was awarded $400,000. Twenty per cent of this amount will to be donated to the SNPC.

Both swimmers hope to see the money, which amounts to $90,000 in total, used for development. Goh told Yahoo Singapore she wants to see “more athletes coming into the big picture as they cannot do this forever”, while Yip wants to “see fresh blood in next year’s APG (Asean Para Games)”.

“There has to be continuity and long-term goals… it has to be a commitment and something they want to do,” Goh added.

Both Goh and Yip have since made the decision to continue competing for two more years, before evaluating their options again.

While the attention on disabled sports is at an all-time high now, both swimmers believe there is a need for more athletes to join them if disabled sports is to reach the next level.

The 24-year-old Yip explained, “We envision it having a bigger base of people, so when we want to pick a few for the elite level, there will be people.

“And really, we hope that these funds will go to the training and development and maybe the talent scouting of these people.”