Singapore, 5 February 2024 – World Para Swimming (WPS) and the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) unveiled Singapore as the host city for the 12th edition of the World Para Swimming Championships today. The Championships, which is the highest ranked Para swimming event outside the Paralympic Games, will unfold at the world-class OCBC Aquatic Centre within the Singapore Sports Hub, from 3 October to 9 October 2025.
Aligned with Singapore’s 60th birthday celebration, the World Para Swimming Championships will serve as a testament to the nation’s unwavering commitment to inclusivity. Significantly, this milestone event marks the inaugural occasion of the World Para Swimming Championships being hosted in Asia, presenting a rare opportunity for swimmers, both with and without disabilities, to vie for victory in their respective World Championships within the same host nation come 2025.
Mr Craig Nicholson, Head of World Para Swimming, said: “We are delighted to announce that next year’s World Championships will take place in Singapore, marking the first time the competition is held in Asia. This is a major milestone for our sport and is also evidence of the growth of Para swimming in the country and the region. Singapore hosted the Citi Para Swimming World Series for the first time in 2019 and since then we have had the opportunity to see first-hand the great work of the Singapore Disability Sports Council, providing opportunities and breaking barriers for persons with disabilities in society. We look forward to working together with the SDSC and their partners to welcome the world’s best Para swimmers to the OCBC Aquatic Centre in 2025.”
Para swimming has been a consistent stronghold for Team Singapore, producing Paralympic medalists and world record holders such as Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh Rui Si. Additionally, Asian medalist Toh Wei Soong, Asian record holder Sophie Soon and numerous ASEAN Para Games medalists have contributed to the nation’s rich para swimming legacy. Beyond elite competition, the SDSC also welcomes nearly 100 individuals with physical, visual and intellectual disabilities to its national championships annually.
Dr Teo-Koh Sock Miang, President of the SDSC, expressed, “We envision this landmark event propelling Singapore onto the global stage as a country that commits to empower individuals of all abilities. With the generous support of Sport Singapore and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, we aim to reach out to more Singaporeans through the awareness and partnerships that will be fostered by this event.”
“There remains a large number of Singaporeans with disabilities who can find inspiration, success and achievement in Para swimming and Para sport. We would like everyone to be able to gain inspiration and confidence from the exceptional Para swimmers that they will witness at this event. We implore supportive partners and sponsors to collaborate with us in forging a lasting legacy for persons with disabilities and the broader Singaporean community.”
“The 2025 World Para Swimming Championships promise to be an unforgettable celebration of diversity, athleticism, and community.”
As part of the leadup to the Championships, a new Para swimming learn-to-swim programme, called “SwimTogether”, was also introduced by the SDSC today.
Developed by WPS, Singapore would be one of the first countries globally to launch the curriculum, with workshops commencing in May 2024 alongside the Citi Para Swimming World Series Singapore. The SDSC aims to equip more local swim coaches with the skills and confidence to welcome individuals with disabilities into the world of swimming.
Singaporeans can also look forward to other ways to learning about Para swimming as the nation gets ready for the big event in 2025. At the event, SDSC also announced its involvement in an upcoming Mediacorp Chinese drama, titled ‘Hope Afloat,’ which revolves around persons with disabilities. Actress Chantalle Ng, best known for her role as the female lead in ‘My Star Bride,’ is set to take on the protagonist’s role as a Para swimmer. The captivating series will be seen on mewatch and Channel 8 in July 2024. This not only promises engaging entertainment but also offers audiences a unique opportunity to gain insights into the world of athletes with disabilities and Para swimming, fostering education and understanding in the lead-up to the Championships in 2025.
Adding to the celebratory atmosphere, Madame Tussauds Singapore unveiled a life-size waxwork of Yip Pin Xiu, Singapore’s most decorated Paralympic medalist and para swimmer. This marks a historic moment, as Yip Pin Xiu becomes the first local para athlete to be featured at the attraction. Starting from 6 February 2024, visitors can get up close to the “wax twin” and take a winning photograph with the world champion. In collaboration with the SDSC, the attraction is also working to host special needs groups for a day out at the attraction as part of their community outreach initiative. Visitors with special needs and their caregivers are also welcomed to visit the attraction throughout the year at a concessionary rate.
Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Second Minister for Law, who graced the occasion as the Guest of Honour, said, “Hosting the World Para Swimming Championships is a significant milestone for the disability sport community in Singapore. It will enable our Team Singapore athletes to compete against the world’s top para swimmers on home ground, and inspire Singaporeans, as they witness the competition up close.”
Community activations featuring various para sports in Singapore are in the plans to raise awareness and reach more persons with disabilities.
“SportSG fully supports efforts to uplift the lives of persons with disabilities through sport, through initiatives such as our Para Sport Academies, SportCares programmes, and inclusive ActiveSG facilities. Hosting the World Para Swimming Championships will enable us to build on these efforts in the same year that Singapore will also host the World Aquatics Championships and celebrate SG60. The organising committee seeks to co-create this event with our partners and deliver a memorable experience for all athletes, officials and members of our community. We look forward to everyone’s active participation in cheering for the world’s best aquatics athletes and immersing in the event festivities,” said Alan Goh, Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the Singapore 2025 World Para Swimming Championships.
Paralympian Yip Pin Xiu added, “I never imagined that we would one day get to showcase Para swimming to this level in Singapore. To know that it would happen at a world-class pool, with the top Para swimmers in the world competing right here on our little island, feels truly surreal. It not only shows that Singapore has taken concrete strides towards promoting inclusivity over the years but has received the confidence to play a leading role in the global landscape. I hope that more Singaporeans and organisations will take up the opportunity to watch the Para swimmers at the World Championships and find ways to be a part of this. Together we can understand how sports, and respect, can help to transform our stories as individuals and as a community.”
Emphasising the sense of community, Para swimmers, athletes from diverse sports, coaches, officials, and parents joyously marked the announcement with a traditional ‘lo hei’—a cherished Singaporean dish during the Lunar New Year that symbolises the act of “tossing for good fortune.” This heartwarming gesture was a collective wish for success in the upcoming World Championships.
Singapore has successfully hosted international Para swimming events in recent years, in particular the Citi Para Swimming World Series in both 2019 and 2023. It remains the sole Asian destination on the tour in 2024. The biennial World Para Swimming Championships, most recently hosted in 2023 in Manchester, United Kingdom, is anticipated to draw approximately 600 elite Para swimmers from over 60 nations to the vibrant garden city.
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