HANGZHOU, CHINA: Swimmer Toh Wei Soong made history for Singapore by securing the nation’s first gold medal at the Asian Para Games held on 26 October 2023, in the men’s S7 100m backstroke event.
This remarkable achievement took place at the Hangzhou Aquatic Sports Arena, where the 25-year-old athlete clocked a time of 1 minute and 14.99 seconds.
Not only did Toh Wei Soong clinch the gold medal, but he also set a new meet record, surpassing the previous mark of 1 minute and 15.65 seconds held by China’s Gao Nan since the 2010 edition in Guangzhou, as reported by The Straits Times.
The silver and bronze medals in the men’s S7 100m backstroke went to the Chinese swimmers Yang Huaqiang (1:20.12) and Huang Xianquan (1:20.80), respectively.
Toh Wei Soong, despite his ten years in the sport, admitted that the Games had been a bit nerve-racking for him.
He also shared that he found joy in his sports, even though they could be stressful at times.
While elated to bring home Singapore’s first gold medal from the Games in China, Toh acknowledged that his performance wasn’t flawless, as he had set his sights on breaking Gao’s Asian record of 1 minute and 14.71 seconds, which has stood since 2012.
In the previous edition of the Games in Jakarta in 2018, Toh had earned a bronze medal in the S7 100m back event, a discipline he had recently been focusing more on.
He was also slated to compete in the men’s S7 50m freestyle and butterfly events on 27 October.
With Toh’s gold medal, Singapore’s medal tally at the Asian Para Games rose to five, consisting of one gold, two silvers, and two bronzes.
The silver was awarded to lawn bowler Faridah Salleh in the women’s singles B6 event, while Khirmern Mohamad, another teammate, secured a bronze in the men’s singles B7 event on October 25.
Claire Toh had previously claimed a bronze in the Class 1-2 table tennis women’s singles event on October 24.
Singapore was well-represented by a total of 33 para-athletes at the Asian Para Games, which took place from October 22 to 28.
These athletes competed in nine different sports, including archery, athletics, badminton, boccia, lawn bowls, powerlifting, shooting, swimming, and table tennis.
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