‘You have made Singapore very proud today’: PM Lee to Yip Pin Xiu

‘You have made Singapore very proud today’: PM Lee to Yip Pin Xiu
From left to right: Screenshot of Lee Hsien Loong's Facebook post and TODAY file photo
Prime Minister, political leaders and Singaporeans congratulate and pay tribute to para-swimmer for winning Singapore’s first gold medal at the Paralympics
Published: 12:55 PM, September 10, 2016
Updated: 6:48 PM, September 10, 2016

SINGAPORE — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Tony Tan Keng Yam have hailed national para-swimmer Yip Pin Xiu for winning Singapore’s first gold medal at the Paralympic Games in Rio, saying that Singapore is very proud of her.

They were among the many Singaporeans who took to social media to congratulate the 24-year-old Singapore Management University undergraduate for winning the women’s 100m backstroke S2 final early on Saturday morning (Sept 10), and setting two new world records and two Paralympic marks as well.

Yip, who has muscular dystrophy, clinched the gold in 2min 07.09sec, more than 11 seconds ahead of nearest rival Feng Yazhu of China (2:18.65). Her time also slashed more than two seconds off her own world record mark of 2:09.79. It was also a new Paralympic record as this is the first time that the 100m backstroke S2 event is featured at the Paralympics.

Yip’s time of 59.38sec in the first 50m of the race was also a new world and Paralympic record. It broke her world 50m backstroke S2 backstroke mark of 1:00.64 as well as Feng’s Paralympic mark of 1:03.00.

Prime Minister Lee wrote on his Facebook page that Yip’s achievement reminds everyone of how we can overcome the odds with hard work determination and grit.

“Congratulations to Yip Pin Xiu for her gold medal finish at the 100m backstroke S2 event at the #Rio2016 #Paralympics! She not only brought home Singapore’s first medal at the Games but also broke the world record with a time of 2min 7.09sec,” wrote Mr Lee.

“Her amazing achievement reminds us that with hard work, determination and grit, we can overcome the odds and come out on top. Pin Xiu, you have made Singapore very proud today.

“All the best to our athletes competing in Rio. Go Team Singapore!”

President Tony Tan expressed similar sentiments as well as his hope that Yip’s gold will be the first of many pieces of good news from the 13-strong Team Singapore contingent at the Rio Paralympics in the coming week.

“So happy that Yip Pin Xiu won another Gold at the Rio Paralympics Women’s (S2) 100m backstroke! And she did it in a new world record time too. Well done, Pin Xiu! Singapore is so proud of you,” wrote Dr Tan on his Facebook page.

“When I met Pin Xiu during her training in June, she was still very modest about her chances, but told me she will do her best. She certainly did her best today.

“I hope Pin Xiu’s Gold will be only the first of many pieces of good news we will hear from Rio in the coming week. “

Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu, and Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin were among the other Singapore leaders who also congratulated Yip while national swimmer Joseph Schooling, who won the men’s 100m butterfly gold medal at last month’s Rio Olympics posted the video of Yip’s swim with the simple message: “Congrats Pin Xiu.”

Many Singaporeans have also joined in to congratulate Yip for her feat.

“Congratulations! You have done Singapore proud, and proven nothing is impossible! What an inspiration to all!” wrote Jarvis Sim on TODAY’s Facebook page while Aries Ang wrote: “So proud! She made it despite the physical constraints. Her success wasn’t a given, it’s hard work, training and perseverance. Salute!!! A gold for Singapore!!!”

Yip’s win means that she has repeated her feat of winning a gold medal at the Paralympics. She won the 50m backstroke S3 title at the 2008 Beijing Games. She now has a chance to win her second gold at the Rio Games as her next event — the 50m backstroke S2 final — is on Friday.