SINGAPORE – Thirteen youth para athletes across four sports have been selected by the Singapore National Paralympic Council (SNPC) to represent the Republic at the upcoming Asian Youth Para Games (AYPG) in Bahrain.

The list was revealed during the flag presentation ceremony at the National Stadium on Saturday (Nov 6). The Games is from Dec 2-6.

Boccia athlete Aloysius Gan, who will make his major Games debut in Bahrain, has been appointed Singapore’s flag bearer, while 2016 Paralympics bronze medallist Theresa Goh will lead the contingent as chef de mission.

Gan, 15, who has cerebral palsy, said he was honoured to be chosen. He added: “I have played boccia since I was seven years old and it is a dream come true to represent Singapore at such a prestigious event.

“Preparations for the Bahrain 2021 Asian Youth Para Games have been very demanding as I have to balance my studies and training.

“It is even more special as I will be competing alongside my father (Gan Keng Aik), who is my athlete competition partner.”

The other debutants are Ahmad Nor Imran Nor Azhar, Maveric Lee (both athletics), Yan Jia Yi (boccia), Jeremiah Liauw, Robby Yeo, Kate Tan, Janelle Tong, Darren Chan (all swimming) and Caleb Lee (table tennis).

This is the second AYPG for Muhammad Nur Ariq Yaakub, Siti Nurhayati Ali Aksar Khan (both athletics) and swimmer Colin Soon.

At the previous edition in Dubai in 2017, Ariq won the men’s 400m T20 (Under-18) event while Colin brought home two bronze medals in the men’s S11-13 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle.

Singapore claimed five golds, six silvers and seven bronzes at the 2017 Games.

This is Goh’s first time as a chef de mission and the four-time Paralympian said she sought the advice of 2017 AYPG chef de mission Yip Pin Xiu, who is also her good friend.

Goh, 34, said: “I want the youth para athletes to know that my door is open and I want to be able to mentor and guide them in their sports journey. It is important for us to nurture para sports talent and allow them to maximise their full potential.

“I look forward to the experience and I hope Singaporeans, just as how they supported our Paralympians, can support our youth para athletes for the upcoming Games.”

(From left) Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth Eric Chua, Theresa Goh, Aloysius Gan’s father with Aloysius and Singapore National Paralympic Council president Teo-Koh Sock Miang. PHOTO: SINGAPORE NATIONAL PARALYMPIC COUNCIL

Teo-Koh Sock Miang, president of the SNPC, hopes the selected athletes will inspire more youth para athletes and praised them for adapting well during the pandemic and continuing to train hard.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth Eric Chua added: “I know that the Covid-19 pandemic has made training for Games more challenging and would like to commend (the athletes) for their hard work and resilience in preparing themselves well to test their mettle and skills against other youth competitors from Asia.”

An estimated 800 para athletes are expected to compete in nine sports in Bahrain. The entire Singapore contingent, who will depart on Nov 28, will be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and undergo an influenza vaccination before departure.

The athletes have been training in a bubble and will be issued a travel essentials kit containing face masks, hand sanitiser, a can of anti-microbial spray, Antigen Rapid Test self-test kits and an exercise mat. They will also be tested daily in Bahrain.

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