Singapore’s para swimmer Sophie Soon set a new ASEAN Para Games record and clinched gold for the women’s 100m breaststroke SB12 timed finals in Semarang this morning.
“I’m very grateful for (the gold medal). All the girls (in the race) did a really great job and I’m just looking forward for the next race. I think it’s a good start for this meet and hopefully for my next race which is the 50m freestyle we’ll be able to replicate similar results but most importantly, giving our best is still the most important thing,” she said.
Fresh off the back of her silver finish at the World Para Swimming Championships in June 2022, she set a new record of 1:28.38, finishing ahead of Firstania Kayla, Tara Athaya, and Laras Safitri, from the host nation.
Ms Soon looks geared up for her 50m freestyle S12 on 5 Aug, as she prepares her bid for the 2024 Paralympics in Paris. She was not the only Singaporean swimmer making waves in the pool at the Jati Diri Swimming Complex this afternoon.
Younger brother Colin Soon set a new Games Record at 1:13.33 for the men’s 100m breaststroke SB12 timed finals and took the gold. He swam hard to finish 13 seconds ahead of sole competitor Van Hanh Nguyen from Vietnam. Mr Soon’s gold was Singapore’s first for the Games. He will be competing in the 100m freestyle S12 on 3 Aug and 50m breaststroke SB12 on 5 Aug as he looks to add more medals to his personal tally.
The 17-year-old looks set to follow in his sister’s strokes as the siblings continue on the record-breaking streak. Mr Soon won four golds at the 2021 Asian Youth Para Games in Bahrain. This is his debut at APG.
“The gold was really unexpected because when I arrived, I wasn’t sure who my competitors were going to be and how they were going to perform. It was a very pleasant surprise to get my first gold at my first APG. I feel very hopeful now that I have had a great start to my APG. I think I can perform to my best ability,” he said.
He called it a “very happy coincidence” that he took the gold on the same day his sister did, and is looking forward to “celebrate together” back at the hotel.
Ms Soon added on the special moment saying: “It’s something I’m very excited about because I was literally telling my coach on the way out (to the start of the final) that Colin did the first Majulah Singapura for Team Singapore and to be the second one just behind him is something…that I really have no words and I’m really so happy that my brother is here with me alongside and achieving such great results with me.”
Keeping in the winning spirits, Wong Zhi Wei swam a personal best of 1:15.69 to place second for the men’s 100m breaststroke SB13 timed finals. He finished behind Vietnam’s Tran Quoc Phi of Vietnam but edged Indonesia’s Marinus Melianus for the silver.
“I guess I feel pretty good. I beat my personal best by 4 seconds so I’m really glad that the work has paid off. I’m not really a breaststroker but I’ve been doing a lot of technique work on my breaststroke so that has helped me to improve. I’m pretty happy with the result. I’ll be ready to fight for the 100 free and the 50 free which has a lot of (other) competitors so this (result) is good motivation for my future events,” said Mr Wong.
He will compete in the 100m freestyle S13 and 50m freestyle S13 on 3 Aug and 5 Aug respectively as he looks to add a gold medal to his silver.
APG debutant Janelle Tong missed out on the bronze by three seconds as she clocked in at 1:30.30 but she managed to set a new national record and her personal best. The 14-year-old put in a spirited performance and will have another shot for a podium finish in the 400m freestyle S10 and 50m freestyle S10 on 5 Aug. She is the youngest para athlete representing the Singapore colors in Indonesia.
Tomorrow’s swimming action will see Team Singapore’s Jeremiah Liauw and Darren Chan looking to add to Singapore’s medal tally.
Catch the sporting action live here at TheHomeGroud Asia, and cheer Team Singapore’s para athletes on as they strive for gold in Solo Indonesia for the 2022 ASEAN Para Games.