The 2019 Singapore World Para Swimming World Series, presented by Kenn Foundation, has confirmed an exciting lineup of about 173 athletes from 26 nations. The Series would be the first world-level para swimming competition held in Singapore, when it kicks off on 10 May 2019.
The World Series, which also debuts in Asia for the first time, has attracted Paralympic medalists, world record holders and other top athletes, making it a rare opportunity for the local crowd to catch these athletes in action. Spectators can expect to welcome four-time Paralympian Jessica Long (America), who has 13 gold, 6 silver and 4 bronze Paralympic medals under her belt, and 3-time Paralympian, Sophie Pascoe (New Zealand), who similarly holds an impressive haul of 9 gold and 6 silver Paralympic medals.
One of the interesting races for which home crowd support would be key is the 50m Freestyle S1-S13 event, where Toh Wei Soong (Singapore) will be reuniting with rival Ernie Gawilan (Philippines), after their intense races during the Asian Para Games in October 2018. Toh finished the race in 29.01s, ahead of Gawilan at 31.93s.
Toh shared, “Ernie has been a well-known swimmer for several years, and he was there at the beginning of my career at the 2015 ASEAN Para Games. Having him as a competitor keeps me grounded as an athlete, and he needs me as much as I need him, because we help each other to improve by being there. I look forward to seeing him again.”
The Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) is hoping that more Singaporeans can come forward to watch the races taking place from 10 to 12 May at the OCBC Aquatic Centre. “Our athletes, with or without disabilities, need a strong home crowd behind them. However, it’s not easy to get people to come forward, especially if they don’t understand para sports. There are also other mainstream events competing for public attention on the same days, so we can only hope for the best – that the stands will be filled eventually,” shared Ms Kelly Fan, Executive Director, SDSC.
Tickets can be reserved with the SDSC through email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Heats, which are free of charge, would take place from 9am, while finals, which are priced at $2 per ticket, would take place from 5.30pm. Social Service Organisations and Special Education institutions are entitled to free entry to both sessions. Team Singapore athletes would be swimming in all sessions.