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Equitable Opportunities for Vulnerable Groups

Celebrate The Extraordinary

*Tote Board extends its congratulations to Ms Theresa Goh for clinching a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games in the SB4 100m breaststroke event!

Life is really short, and it’s too short to not do all you can with it. Live with no regrets and ultimately, live for yourself.
- Ms Theresa Goh, National Paralympic Swimmer

The beauty of sports lies in the fact that it is able to unite people of different races, cultures and even abilities together.

Once every two years, Singaporeans come together as a nation to celebrate the extraordinary and be inspired by the resilience and spirit of our athletes at the ASEAN Para Games.

The Games, however, are more than just a display of sporting excellence; they present a great opportunity for Singaporeans to foster a more inclusive and caring society, as they shine the spotlight on persons with disabilities.

FACING CHALLENGES WITH STRENGTH

Amassing a collection of medals from her numerous sports competitions and holding the Asian records for the 50m, 100m and 200m Breaststroke SB4 categories, swimmer Ms Theresa Goh has indeed proven herself to be an accomplished sportswoman and an inspiration for fellow athletes in the arena.

However, what one might not know from the mere reading of record achievements is that Theresa has a congenital spinal condition, affecting her ability to walk. 

This, however, does not weigh down Ms Goh’s spirit, but instead spurs her on to reach for her dreams and achieve what she sets out to do. Living with congenital spina bifida, Ms Goh has faced her share of challenges while growing up.

“There are many issues to think about, but the main thing is I don’t place limitations on myself, even if society places it on me. This mindset really helped build the person I am, and pushed me beyond my limits,” she
revealed.

THE LOVE OF FAMILY

Ms Goh credits her family as her main source of strength.

“I am lucky I cannot remember all the bad stuff. Most of the bad times were shouldered by my parents. My family helped make sure I grew up independent and happy. I grew up without limits and never thought that I couldn’t do
anything because of my disability,” she recalled.

Swimming has always been a family activity on the weekends.

Ms Goh shared, “When I was around 12, I was spotted by one of the volunteers from the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) and he encouraged my parents to bring me to one of the national swimming championships that was coming up. It was a pretty successful first competition and after that, I joined the SDSC’s swimming training programme.”

INSPIRING THE COMMUNITY

The rest as we know is history. 

Ms Goh went on to be the first swimmer in our country to represent Singapore during the 2004 Paralympics in Athens and is Singapore’s most decorated athlete in the ASEAN Para Games. In the December 2015 ASEAN Para Games, held in Singapore for the first time in its history, Ms Goh won a stunning 4 gold medals and 1 bronze medal, breaking two Games records, en route to helping Singapore achieve its best ever performance at the Games.

Despite the challenge that life served her at birth, Ms Goh has not bowed down but made the best out of what she had been given. “Life is really short, and it’s too short to not do all you can with it. Live with no regrets and ultimately, live for yourself.”

Ms Goh’s story shows that para athletes are more than just talented sportsmen and sportswomen. For their fellow persons with disabilities, the para athletes represent the hope that they too can be more than the disabilities they have – it is the abilities they do possess that should define them for who they are.

Uplifting The Vulnerable Through Sports

Tote Board funded the participation of Team Singapore athletes for the ASEAN Para Games held in Singapore in December 2015. The resilience and determination shown by the athletes in overcoming their disabilities to achieve excellence serve as an example to inspire Singaporeans and level up participation in sports. This is in line with Tote Board’s strategic outcomes of providing equitable opportunities for vulnerable groups and building a more resilient community.