20 September 17 The Straits Times by ALVIN CHIA
Swimmer Danielle Moi finished first in the women's 200m freestyle S14 race at the last Asean Para Games (APG) in Singapore two years ago. But she was not awarded a medal then because there were not enough competitors in that class.
Happily for the 17-year-old, the regional scene has improved and she was rewarded with a gold medal yesterday after touching the wall first once again.
She finished the five-competitor race in a personal best (PB) of 2min 29.89sec, shaving more than five seconds off her previous mark of 2:35.09 set at the last Games.
Claire Sunega Calizo of the Philippines was second in 2:44.81 and Singapore's Chew Zi Ling claimed the bronze in 2:53.00.
The S14 class is for intellectually disabled swimmers.
While she cherishes her medals, Danielle, who also won a silver in the 100m freestyle on Monday, said the bigger satisfaction came from setting a new personal best.
She said: "I was focused on breaking my PB and winning a medal just came along with that."
Ironically, the goals were reversed at her APG debut in 2015.
"When I swam in a non-medal event two years ago, I had felt then there was no point in swimming if there was nothing to win," said the Metta School student, who won two gold medals at the 2015 Special Olympics in Los Angeles.
"I didn't really want to give my best then but (team manager Kang Tze Wei) told me that I shouldn't just go in to swim for fun, but I should still give my best."
Danielle was the only Singapore swimmer to win a gold yesterday, as the Republic added two silvers at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur.
Benson Tan won a silver in the men's 100m S14 freestyle in a new PB of 1:01.38. Catholic High School student and Games debutant Wong Zhi Wei, who is partially blind, clocked 1:05.26 to bag a silver in the men's 100m S13 freestyle.