Making a splash!

Imagine learning to swim without the use of your arms or legs or with certain physical disabilities such as spina fida (a medical condition where part of the spine not formed properly at birth) or proximal femoral focal deficiency (where one leg is shorter than the other).

97 swimmers from special schools and associations, mainstream schools and local swimming clubs did not let their physical or intellectual disabilities hold them back as they took part in the inaugural Singapore Press Holdings Foundation National Para-Swimming Championship 2011.

Organised by the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC), this year marks the competition’s 30th edition and the first time the SPH Foundation is sponsoring this event. It was held on Saturday 30 July at the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex. Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports MG (NS) Chan Chun Sing was the Guest-of-Honour for the event.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Participants who signed up for the competition were firstly classified based on their functional disabilities. They could sign up for races in all the four swimming strokes, for distances ranging from 25m to 400m, in both individual and relay races. The youngest and oldest participant is nine years and 55 years old respectively.

The swimmers may need assistance such as wheel chairs and walking aids as they made their way to the pool, and some even needed to be lifted up the starting blocks. But don’t let their appearance fool you once they are in the water.

Each swimmer had their unique style, from the way they dived into the water and the way they swam each stroke. This was no recreational swim for them either. It was a competition. The prize at stake, medals aside - junior swimmers gunning for a place in the Singapore Sports School and older swimmers will be groomed to represent Singapore at the ASEAN Para Games 2011 in Indonesia and the 2012 Paralympics in London.

Ms Ginney Lim, General Manager of Singapore Press Holdings Foundation said: Our sponsorship of the National Para-Swimming Championship supports two of the SPH Foundation's key objectives, which are promoting sports and reaching out to the underprivileged. We believe in providing opportunities for everyone to enjoy and excel in sports.  Through this event, we hope to raise the public profile of para-swimming, and encourage the disabled to showcase their achievements to all.

Although each race had a champion, this was one event where all the participants have earned bragging rights as winners and champions for their show of courage and determination, in spite of their disabilities.


Back to top