[Media Release] Record number of medals to be vied for at the Citi Para Swimming World Series 2024 Singapore

Credit: Singapore Disability Sports Council — Andy Chua
Credit: Singapore Disability Sports Council — Andy Chua
  • Third edition held in Singapore would feature Singapore’s first youth finals, where youth aged 18 and below would be able to compete separately for additional medals, as a boost for the development of youth para swimmers.
  • It also features the global debut for the “Swim Together” workshop, a coaching curriculum introduced by World Para Swimming to improve the base of para swimming proficient coaches worldwide.
  • Toyota maintains its strong support as main organising committee sponsor for the Singapore edition, for the second consecutive year.

The Citi Para Swimming World Series returns to Singapore this year with over 120 high performing and developmental para swimmers from around the globe set to participate in the OCBC Aquatic Centre from 17 to 19 May.
Organised by the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC), this is the third time Singapore is hosting this prestigious competition in the para swimming calendar.

Singapore has remained the only Asian leg of the World Series throughout the three editions, which travels to 9 countries in 2024.

The 2024 edition in Singapore will include the global debut of the “Swim Together” workshop, which introduces a coaching curriculum designed by World Para Swimming (WPS) to equip more swim instructors with the skills to teach swimming to persons with disabilities and learn key water safety skills. Five Singaporean instructors have been trained as the first to deliver this curriculum.

Head of World Para Swimming, Mr Craig Nicholson, said: “World Para Swimming is really pleased to host the first Swim Together training in Singapore. There is a real focus to develop the sport in Singapore at all levels from grassroots to performance, so there’s no better place to launch the programme.”

“I hope the training will provide the participants with the skills and information to be able to take the Swim Together programme into their day to day swimming teaching and coaching, helping them to inspire others and make para swimming more accessible in Singapore.”

About 15 local swim coaches are participating in this first workshop. The SDSC hopes to work with these swim coaches and their clubs to broaden the entry points for individuals with disabilities to pick up swimming skills.

Executive Director of Singapore Disability Sports Council, Ms Kelly Fan, said: “Over the past 50 years, we have developed a successful model for para swimming performance in Singapore, but we cannot become complacent if we want more individuals with disabilities to achieve excellence like Pin Xiu. Performance strategies alone are not enough; our success roadmap is continuously updated and spans the entire journey from learn-to-swim programs to high performance. We have expanded from a single central training squad to multiple development centres where our para swimmers can thrive. We are now seeking more partners to expand our learn-to-swim entry points. This would be crucial for us to support individuals with different abilities to succeed in various ways.”

To support youth development, SDSC will also be introducing youth finals for the first time in the Singapore edition. Youth para swimmers aged 18 and below would be able to qualify and compete separately for additional youth medals, on top of the open finals. Team Singapore youth para swimmer, 15-year-old Robby Yeo, who would be competing in her second World Series, would be looking to qualify for the youth finals.

While youth and coach development initiatives are being introduced to enhance the impact of the World Series, high performance remains the core focus of the event. The Citi Para Swimming World Series Singapore 2024 is one of the last chances for swimmers to clock qualifying times for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Spectators can look forward to witnessing top para athletes in action, including Japan’s Takayuki Suzuki and Keiichi Kimura, Hong Kong’s Chan Yui-lam, and Spain’s Teresa Perales.

Two-time Paralympic gold medalist, Takayuki Suzuki, said: “It is a remarkable opportunity, especially for Asian swimmers, to experience international competitions and check how their training is progressing towards the Paris Paralympic Games with fewer time differences.”

“I have a target time for each event in which I swim this time and I’ll try to reach it. The results of this competition will push me to train hard for the Paris Paralympic Games in the next few months,” he added.

13 Team Singapore para swimmers are set to compete on home ground. Local fans can cheer on Paralympians Yip Pin Xiu, Toh Wei Soong and Sophie Soon, as well as ASEAN Para Games medalists Colin Soon, Wong Zhi Wei, Danielle Moi, Darren Chan and Benson Tan. Nicholas Hee, who is a Special Olympics World Games gold medallist, will also join Team Singapore in his international debut at the World Series.

Having just won 2 golds at the Madeira 2024 Para Swimming European Open Championships for Women’s 50m and 100m Backstroke S2 events, Yip Pin Xiu returns strong to compete in Singapore. “I’m really excited to be competing in the World Series in Singapore. We did it last year as well, and the atmosphere was really good and exciting with the home crowd cheering,” shared Yip. Yip broke the 200m Free S2 world record in her first event at the Singapore World Series last year.

SDSC’s Para Swimming Performance Director and Lead Coach Mick Massey said: “Competing at our own World Series event is hugely important for our local athletes because it’s the one meet in the year where we don’t have to travel. We can stay in our time zone and this is the best type of preparation for any meet, really. It is also the only one meet in the year where we can bring all of the swimmers together, from development right through to high performance, on the international stage. This is the meet where the swimmers’ parents can attend and I’m sure that will make everyone want to do very well.”

Toyota Motor Asia continues to be the main sponsor of the Singapore leg for the second consecutive year, and for the third time since 2019.

Mr Preston Tan, Vice President of Toyota Motor Asia, shared, “This sponsorship not only empowers para swimmers but also raises awareness and inspires positive change, in line with Toyota’s global vision of “Mobility For All”. It provides a global platform for emerging para swimmers to shine, and challenge stereotypes surrounding physical, visual, and intellectual impairments. By showcasing values such as humility, hard work, and perseverance, these athletes embody the spirit of Toyota’s commitment.”

“At Toyota, we’re passionate and committed about shaping a future of mobility that’s inclusive and sustainable. Our goal is to cultivate a society where everyone can challenge the impossible and unlock their full potential for mobility,” Mr Tan added.

Toyota Asia Singapore employees are also volunteering in a series of fringe activities held in conjunction with the World Series in Singapore to boost public awareness of para sports. This includes hosting members of the public and schools behind-the-scenes of the World Series to get up close and personal with international para swimmers and learn how different equipment and techniques can be used in para swimming.

Members of the public can also participate in the festive village, where they can share their views on para sports in an interactive art installation, contribute to an art jamming installation, and try out various para sports such as para cycling, archery and lawn bowls.

In conjunction with the celebratory atmosphere of the World Series, SDSC has launched its own mascot, Finley. Inspired by the Merlion, Finley embodies bravery, perseverance, and determination, aligning with the spirit of para athletes.

President of SDSC, Dr Teo-Koh, said: “Hosting the World Series in Singapore provides a world-class platform for more of our para swimmers to enhance their skills as they compete against top international athletes. It also offers a valuable opportunity for our local community to experience the “wow” moments when they watch so many athletes with different abilities excel in ways that surpass their imaginations. We hope that more Singaporeans with disabilities will be inspired to realise their potential in sports.”

Ms Fan added, “While we often read about our para swimmers’ accomplishments in the papers, how often do we witness their efforts firsthand and offer our support before the medals are won? The presence of us rallying behind Pin Xiu and our para swimmers as they navigate this final stretch towards the Paralympic Games and their aspirations transforms their races from mere competitions into moments of empowerment, for us and for them.”

Day and season passes are available on SISTIC, the official ticketing partner for the event. Mediacorp, the official broadcast partner, will also be livestreaming the heats and finals on MeWatch.


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