SINGAPORE: Four of the 10 athletes from Singapore taking part in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be making their debuts, said the Singapore National Paralympic Council on Saturday (Jul 17).
Debutants Nur’Aini Mohamad Yasli, Steve Tee, Toh Wei Soong and Sophie Soon will join their compatriots in this year's Games, which will take place between Aug 24 and Sep 5 after it was postponed from last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Powerlifter Nur'Aini will take part in the up to 45kg women's event while cyclist Tee (with partner Ang Kee Meng) will compete in three events at the Games, including a 32km time trial.
Swimmer Toh will represent the nation in four events, including the 100m backstroke, and his fellow swimmer Soon will compete in two events, including the 100m butterfly.
Nur’Aini is Singapore's first representative in powerlifting at the Paralympic Games, while Tee and Ang will be Singapore's first tandem cycling pair to compete at the Games, said the Singapore National Paralympic Council.
In total, Singapore's athletes will take part in six sports, equalling the number of sports Team Singapore participated in at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Leading the Team Singapore contingent out at the opening ceremony will be flag bearer Diroy, who is making his second appearance at the Games.
"I am honoured to be chosen as the flag bearer. Preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games have been demanding, but it is important for me to remain focused and to commit to my training plan. I am looking forward to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and am seeking to achieve a personal best,” he said.
Yip and Laurentia Tan will be making their fourth Paralympics appearance, and they will be "on hand to provide guidance and valuable advice" to the debutants, said the council.
Dr Teo-Koh Sock Miang, chairperson of the Singapore National Paralympic Council, said: "As we prepare for each Paralympic cycle, succession planning and a sustainable talent pipeline is a key topic of discussion.
"Four athletes making their debut at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games is a strong indication that our high-performance sport system is robust. It is a proud moment for them and everyone who has supported their journey thus far. I am confident that the contingent will do Singapore proud, inspiring others to pursue sports and follow in their footsteps."
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong said he was "very proud" of the athletes.
"Over the past few months, my respect and admiration for our Team Singapore athletes have grown, as I learned more about how they have overcome the challenges, persevered and prevailed," he added.
"Despite the uncertainties surrounding the Games, our athletes never lost focus. We have many great athletes, and 10 of our best will be representing Singapore at the coming Tokyo Paralympics in August."
SINGAPORE CONTINGENT FULLY VACCINATED
Singapore's contingent will take additional precautions above what has been outlined by the Tokyo 2020 playbooks, said the council.
"The Singapore contingent will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and will undergo an additional influenza vaccination. All athletes have been training within a 'bubble' to minimise disruptions to their training plans," said the Singapore National Paralympic Council.
The athletes will arrive five days before ther competition starts, and leave within 48 hours after their competition ends.
While in Tokyo, they will have to adhere to a controlled itinerary and undergo COVID-19 tests daily.
Chef de Mission Shirley Low said: "The health and safety of our contingent is top priority. We are heartened to be working closely with stakeholders such as Sport Singapore, Singapore Disability Sports Council, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and many government agencies, organisations and partners, to ensure that the games go smoothly and the contingent has the support it needs.
"I extend my deepest appreciation to everyone who has been on this journey with us. The power of the collective coming together lends strength to the contingent and we will do our utmost to ensure a safe experience for all of our athletes as they represent Singapore at the highest level."