After placing first in the Heats earlier this morning beating 71 other swimmers, Toh Wei Soong brought home the first medal – gold, nonetheless – for Singapore with a score of 944 points in the Men’s 100m Freestyle event, sending the home crowd into wild cheers, as Day 1 of the Singapore 2019 World Para Series came to a close.
It was a tight race with Uzbekistan’s Islam Aslanov close behind at 940 points and decorated Paralympian Cameron Leslie (NZL) at 923 points. On achieving the Republic’s first win, which also happened to be Toh’s first World Para Series medal, Toh shared, “I feel proud, not just for myself, my parents, my country but for all the swimmers and athletes who would come after me. They can use me as an example – if he can do it, why can’t I?”
The Singapore spirit was at an all-time high as home supporters cheered for the athletes in the finals. Local athletes did not disappoint either as they strived to do their best in front of the home crowd. Despite qualifying for only the B finals for Women’s 100m Breaststroke and Women’s 100m Butterfly, Sophie Soon continued to set new personal bests in both events.
Competition was undoubtedly intense with elite para swimmers scrubbing 2 new world and 4 regional records in a span of two hours. After breaking the American Record for Women’s 100m Butterfly S9 in the morning heats with a time of 1:08:78, Elizabeth Smith broke the American Record again in the finals with a time of 1:08:54. Yui Lam Chan (HKG) also broke the Asian Record that she set in Melbourne World Para Series earlier this year (1:07:26) with a new time of 1:07:24. Muhammad Nur Syaiful Zulkafl (MAS) scrubbed Vo Thanh Tung’s Asian Record set at the Asian Para Games 2018 (1:17:02) with a new time of 1:16:27.
Petite-looking Liu Daomin (CHN) showed that she definitely could pack a punch when she broke the World Record (1:33:63) set by Maisie Summers-Newton (GBR) in 2018, with a timing of 1:33:36 in Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB6 .
Retaining her form from the morning heats, Sophie Pascoe (NZL) not only broke a 2015 Oceania Record in the Women’s 100m Backstroke S9 event with a timing of 1:08:31, but also a World Record in the Women’s 100m Freestyle S9 with the timing of 1:00:36. She took home a total of 2 gold medals from four Women’s events in Day 1.