By Les Tan
Remember this name: Yip Pin Xiu. Why? Because this swimmer has made history.
Pin Xiu, a 16-year-old girl from Bendemeer Secondary School, won the first gold medal ever for Singapore at a major global swimming meet. Competing at the Beijing Paralympics, Pin Xiu swam her 50m backstroke (S3) event in a gold-medal time of 58.75 seconds. Earlier in the heats, she had set a new world record of 57.92sec for the event.
While the average 16-year-old will expect to improve with age, for Pin Xiu, the future is uncertain because she has muscular dystrophy, a genetic disease that is marked by progressive weakness and degeneration of the muscles which control movement.
Pin Xiu also won a silver medal in the 50m freestyle (S3) event and both her medals are sweet reward for the years of toil she has put in to train.
Her achievement puts life in perspective for the rest of us, especially if we take for granted our physical health. Pin Xiu has shown us how to live.
Singapore is proud of you.