Bahrain 2021: Singapore's Rising Stars At The Asian Youth Para Games

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Bahrain 2021: Singapore's Rising Stars At The Asian Youth Para Games

STORY: Janelle Yong
30 November 2021
(Clockwise from left) Siti Nurhayati Binte Ali Aksar Khan, Kate Tan, Aloysius Gan and Caleb Lee are some of the athletes who will be representing Singapore in athletics, swimming, boccia and table tennis, respectively.
(Clockwise from left) Siti Nurhayati Binte Ali Aksar Khan, Kate Tan, Aloysius Gan and Caleb Lee are some of the athletes who will be representing Singapore in athletics, swimming, boccia and table tennis, respectively. | Photos: Singapore National Paralympic Council

After a breathtaking outing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Team Singapore has a chance to do it again and showcase new talent in the Middle East.

Enter the Asian Youth Para Games (AYPG), a multi-sport event held every four years for young athletes with Impairment age range between 12 and 20. This year, an estimated 800 para athletes under 23 years of age from across Asia are expected to compete in nine sports at the Bahrain 2021 AYPG, which runs from 2 to 6 December 2021.

As for Team Singapore, 13 youth para athletes will be representing our country in four sports: Athletics, Boccia, Swimming and Table Tennis. Boccia athlete Aloysius Gan will be Singapore’s flag bearer and lead Team Singapore at the Bahrain 2021 AYPG Opening Ceremony, while four-time Paralympian and Paralympic bronze medallist Theresa Goh will lead the contingent as Chef de Mission.

Here are our dedicated Team SG representatives:


ATHLETICS

PHOTOS: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL
PHOTOS: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

Ahmad Nor Imran Bin Nor Azhar
Men's U20 T20 400m

Imran started running as part of his school's Co-Curricular Activity. To him, running is enjoyable, and it also allows him to be fit and stay healthy. The 17-year-old hopes to continue creating new personal bests and representing Singapore at international meets like the ASEAN Para Games.

PHOTOS: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL
PHOTOS: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

Muhammad Nur Ariq Bin Yaakub
Men's U20 T20 400m

Ariq started running when he was 16 and a student at APSN Tanglin School. His showing at the previous Asian Youth Para Games (AYPG) was a remarkable one: he secured a Gold in the Men's 400m T20 (Under 18), and hopes to repeat this feat at the Bahrain 2021 AYPG. The 18-year-old's inspiration: Usain Bolt and his speed.

Personal best:

  • Dubai 2017 Asian Youth Para Games, Men’s 400m T20 (Under 18), Gold
PHOTOS: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL
PHOTOS: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

Maveric Lee Dong En
Men's U20 T20 400m

Maveric was exposed to athletics in 2013 and enjoys running because it is an outlet for him to exercise. In his free time, the 18-year-old enjoys playing games.

Personal best:

  • Special Olympics World Games 2019, 200m run (M08), Gold
PHOTOS: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL
PHOTOS: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

Siti Nurhayati Binte Ali Aksar Khan
Women's U20 T20 400m

Siti is the fastest athlete in the Intellectual Impairment category in the local scene, having started running when she was a student at Grace Orchard School. Coming with a wealth of experience across different major games, such as the Dubai 2017 Asian Youth Para Games (AYPG) and the Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games, the 19-year-old aims to do Singapore proud and achieve a personal best and a medal at the Bahrain 2021 Asian Youth Para Games.

Personal best:

  • Dubai 2017 Asian Youth Para Games, Women’s 400m T20 (Under 18), Silver
  • Special Olympics World Games 2019, 200m run (F12), Bronze

BOCCIA

PHOTOS: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL
PHOTOS: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

Aloysius Gan Kai Hong
Competition Partner: Gan Keng Aik
BC3 Men’s Individual and BC3 Mixed Pairs Event

Beginning his training at the age of 7 in the Boccia CCA in Cerebral Palsy Alliance School (CPASS), Aloysius has gone on to perform outstandingly as a young and upcoming athlete.

At the Tiger Balm Singapore Boccia Open 2018, he put up a tough fight against more seasoned athletes from top Boccia countries like Korea and Thailand, earning a respectable 4th placing in the BC3 Individuals event. Aloysius also made a formidable pair with his senior, Toh Sze Ning, and snatched silver in the BC3 pairs event.

In 2020, Aloyisus was appointed as his school’s Boccia CCA captain to guide and mentor his juniors. Since taking on the captain role, Aloysius has received the 2020 Leadership Award from CPASS. He was also named the Sportsboy of the Year (Resilience) for the year 2021 at the Singapore Disability Sports Awards.

Personal best:

  • Tiger Balm Singapore Boccia Open 2018, BC3 Pairs Category, Silver
  • Singapore Disability Sports Awards Sportsboy of the Year (Resilience) for 2021
PHOTOS: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL
PHOTOS: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

Yan Jia Yi
Competition Partner: Kwok Ping Ping Lanny
BC3 Women’s Individual and BC3 Mixed Pairs Event

A student at Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore School (CPASS), Jia Yi was introduced to Boccia when she was 13. Now 16, Jia Yi looks up to fellow Boccia athlete Aloysius Gan and hopes to win a gold medal for Singapore someday. The Bahrain 2021 AYPG marks her first official competition and her first time representing Singapore.


SWIMMING

PHOTO: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL
PHOTO: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

Liauw Thiam Hee Jeremiah
S7 Men’s (Youth) -
50M Freestyle Event
50M Butterfly Event
100M Freestyle Event
100M Individual Medley Event

In Jeremiah's own words, he was "thrown into the water", with his mother exposing Jeremiah to swimming when he was a baby. The 15-year-old who has Spina Bifida
Myelomeningocele (a spinal condition) feels free in the water and looks up to trailblazers such as Theresa Goh, Yip Pin Xiu and Toh Wei Soong, hoping to follow in their footsteps and represent Singapore at the Paralympic Games.

PHOTO: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL
PHOTO: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

Robby Yeo Zhi Yah
S14 Women’s (Youth) -
100M Freestyle Event
100M Breaststroke Event 200M Freestyle Event
200M Individual Medal Event

Robby started swimming as therapy, and being able to swim and train alongside her friends keeps her going. The 15-year-old who was born with Williams Syndrome looks up to Paralympic bronze medallist Theresa Goh because she swims Robby's favourite stroke, the breaststroke. This year's AYPG will be her first time representing Singapore.

PHOTO: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL
PHOTO: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

Kate Tan Jing Wen
S14 Women’s (Junior) -
100M Freestyle Event
100M Breaststroke Event 200M Freestyle Event

Kate, who was born with Williams Syndrome, started to learn swimming at the age of 8 when she was living in Vietnam. The 17-year-old looks up to Joseph Schooling for having trained hard and won an Olympic gold medal for Singapore, and hopes to have more opportunities to participate in overseas competitions.

PHOTO: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL
PHOTO: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

Janelle Tong Jing Xuan
S10 Women’s (Youth) -
50M Freestyle Event
100M Freestyle Event
100M Butterfly Event
100M Individual Medley Event 400M Freestyle Event

Swimming was recommended to Janelle by her physiotherapist to improve her functional abilities. Cerebral Palsy Diplegic Gait makes moving on land difficult sometimes because Janelle is not very coordinated in her movements and has difficulty gauging the height of stairs. Conversely, water allows her greater freedom of movement. The 14-year-old looks up to para swimmers Wong Zhi Wei and Sophie Soon for their commitment to the sport and hopes to qualify for the 2028 Paralympic Games.

PHOTO: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL
PHOTO: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

Colin Soon Jin Guang
S13 Men’s (Youth) -
100M Breaststroke Event
100M Freestyle Event
200M Individual Medley Event 400M Freestyle Event

Since Colin was three years old, he was attracted to water and the pool. For his own safety, his mother decided he should participate in swimming classes, and he's never looked back since then. Colin, who has Cone-Rod Dystrophy (a rare eye disorder), doesn't have to look far for a role model as he looks up to his sister, national Paralympian Sophie Soon (who has the same condition), and hopes to follow in her footsteps. Through swimming, he hopes to promote inclusiveness and advocate for persons with disabilities, particularly for young people with visual impairment.

Personal best:

  • Dubai 2017 Asian Youth Para Games, Men's 100m Backstroke S11-S13, Bronze
  • Dubai 2017 Asian Youth Para Games, Men's 100m Freestyle S11-S13, Bronze
PHOTO: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL
PHOTO: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

Darren Chan Wei Siang
S14 Men’s (Junior) -
100M Breastroke Event
100M Freestyle Event
100M Butterfly Event
200M Freestyle Event
200M Individual Medley Event

Darren started swimming in school as his CCA and looks up to Caeleb Remel Dressel, an American professional swimmer who specialises in freestyle, butterfly, and individual medley events. The 18-year-old represented Singapore at the Singapore 2019 World Para Swimming World Series and hopes to qualify for the Paralympic Games.


TABLE TENNIS

PHOTOS: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL
PHOTOS: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

Caleb Lee Jia Xuan
Men’s Singles T6 Event

When this St Andrew’s Secondary School student was 11, his mother's friend suggested that he give Para Table Tennis a try, and he's been training in the sport since then. Colin, who has Spastic Hemiplegia (a neuromuscular condition) and is now 17, looks up to Ma Long, a Chinese table tennis player who won many championships and has good fighting spirit. Caleb wants to prove to himself and others that a person with disability can excel in sport, and he hopes to represent Singapore at the Paralympic Games in the future.


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TAGS: Bahrain 2021 , Sports , Exceptional People , Local talent
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