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Yip Pin Xiu

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Yip Pin Xiu
2016 Paralympics Parade of Nations Singapore cr.jpg
Yip as the flag bearer for Singapore at the 2016 Summer Paralympics Parade of Nations
Personal information
Born (1992-01-10) 10 January 1992 (age 29)
CoachAng Peng Siong

Yip Pin Xiu, PJG (Chinese: 叶品秀; pinyin: Yè Pǐnxìu,[1] born 10 January 1992) is a Singaporean backstroke swimmer.[2] She is a three-time Paralympic gold medallist and a one-time IPC gold medallist, with two world records in the 50 m backstroke S2 and the 100 m backstroke S2.

She has muscular dystrophy and competes in the S3 category for the physically impaired. Since 2005, she has won medals in international competitions such as the World Wheelchair and Amputee Games, Japan Paralympic Swimming Championships and International German Paralympic Swimming Championships. At the 2008 Summer Paralympics, she won a gold medal in the 50 metres backstroke and a silver medal in the 50 metres freestyle, setting world records in both events. At the 2016 Summer Paralympics, she won a gold medal in the 100 metres S2 backstroke, setting a world record for that event, and another for her 50 m split.

In honour of her feats at the Paralympic Games, she was conferred the Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Meritorious Service Medal) during the National Day Awards ceremony and named "Young Woman Achiever of the Year" by local magazine Her World.[3] Her achievements contributed to public debate about the treatment and recognition of disabled athletes in Singapore.

On 17 September 2018, Yip became a Nominated Member of Parliament in Singapore.[4] Her term began on 22 September 2018, and was sworn to the parliament on 1 October 2018.[5]

Yip was not born with muscular dystrophy, her muscular dystrophy symptoms only appeared when she was 2. Her aunt saw that she could not extend and rotate her ankles. Her family then brought her to the doctor and he diagnosed it as muscular dystrophy.[6] When she was five, she started swimming to improve her health and strengthen her muscles;[7] nevertheless, by the age of eleven, she had lost her ability to walk and had to use a wheelchair.[8][9] The youngest of three children in her family,[7] she studied in Ai Tong Primary School and Bendemeer Secondary School,[7] then graduated from Republic Polytechnic as back-up valedictorian and, as of 2017, graduated from Singapore Management University with a Bachelor of Social Science.[10]

Swimming career[edit]

Yip started swimming competitively when she was twelve years old.[8] After losing her ability to kick, Yip switched from the front crawl to the backstroke and was reclassified from the S5 to the S3 category (lower numbers indicate more severe disabilities).[9] Her coach is former Singaporean Olympic swimmer Ang Peng Siong,[9] while fellow Paralympic swimmer Theresa Goh is her close friend and role model.[8] Besides competitive swimming, Yip has participated in events to raise awareness of disabled sports, such as the Interschool Swimming Meets and Montfort Secondary School Track and Field Meet 2007.[6]

After successes in national championships, Yip participated in the Asia Paralympics Swimming Championship 2005, winning two gold medals.[6] Her first international competition was the World Wheelchair and Amputee Games 2005, where she won two gold medals and a bronze.[6] She then received four gold medals at the DSE Long Course Swimming Championships in 2006.[6] In 2007, she won three gold medals at the Japan Paralympic Swimming Championships and four gold medals at the World Wheelchair and Amputee Games.[6]

At the 4th ASEAN Para Games, Yip finished first in the women's 150 metres individual medley, clocking 4 minutes 56.34 seconds.[11] She set a world record time of 1 minute 00.80 seconds in the 50 metres backstroke at the US Paralympic swimming trials.[8] The 22nd International German Paralympic Swimming Championships saw her set a world record of 2 minutes 10.09 seconds in the 100 metres backstroke heats; in the finals, she was awarded the gold medal with a time of 2 minutes 08.09 seconds, bettering her own world record.[11]

Yip started her 2008 Summer Paralympic Games campaign by breaking another world record, clocking 57.04 seconds in the women's 50 metres freestyle heats.[7] However, she was narrowly beaten by Mexican swimmer Patricia Valle in the finals, clinching a silver medal with a time of 57.43 seconds.[7] In the women's 50 metres backstroke heats, she posted a time of 57.92 seconds, taking two seconds off her own world record.[12] She then swam the women's 50 metres backstroke finals in a time of 58.75 seconds to win the gold medal.[12] After she returned to Singapore, the president conferred Yip a state medal, the Meritorious Service Medal.[13]

The success of Yip and Laurentia Tan, who won two bronze medals in equestrian events,[12][13] sparked public debate about the treatment and recognition of disabled athletes in Singapore.[14] Letters to The Straits Times criticised the poor coverage of the Paralympics.[14] Many Singaporeans also commented about the disparity of the cash awards handed out by the government:[14] S$1,000,000 for an Olympic gold and S$100,000 for a Paralympic gold.[15][16] When the issues were raised in Parliament, MCYS parliamentary secretary Teo Ser Luck promised to study plans to give disabled athletes greater support and to include them in sporting programmes such as Project 0812, a training programme for top Singaporean sportspeople.[16] Two months later, the cash rewards for Paralympic medals were doubled and funding for the Singapore National Paralympic Council was increased.[15]

At the 8th ASEAN Para Games, she was torch lighter with Tay Wei Ming and Gan Kai Hong Aloysius.[17]

Yip participated in the 2016 Summer Paralympics. On 10 September 2016, Yip swam in the finals of the 100 m backstroke, S2 class; her time of 2:07.09 was a new S2 world record, earning her a Paralympic gold medal. Her 59.38 split for the first 50 m of the race was also a new S2 world record; in both cases she overwrote her own world leading times. Her medal was Singapore's first at the 2016 Summer Paralympics.[18] On 16 September, Yip won her (and Singapore's) second gold medal of the 2016 Games, this time in the 50 m backstroke finals, S2 class with a time of 1:00.33.[19]

Yip also participated in the 2018 Asian Para Games, and won one gold medal and two bronze medals in total. On 8 October, she won her first gold medal for the 50 m backstroke,[20] S1-4 class, and on 9 October, her first bronze medal for the 100 m freestyle, S1-4 class event. On 12 October, she won her second bronze medal on the 50 m freestyle, S1-4 class event with a time of 1:04.68, behind Peng Qiuping of China and Gabidullina Zulfiya of Kazakhstan, with times of 43.48s and 45.51s, respectively.[21]

Her current coach is ex Olympian, Mark Chay.[22]



  1. ^ "新加坡16岁小将叶品秀:理想决不萎缩", People's Daily, 17 September 2008, retrieved 1 January 2009 (in Chinese).
  2. ^ "YIP Pin Xiu – Biography". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  3. ^ "Her World Woman of the Year 2008". SPH. 6 March 2009.
  4. ^ Yahya, Yasmine (17 September 2018). "9 new Nominated MPs chosen to join Parliament". The Straits Times. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Parliament: New Nominated MPs sworn in, attend first Parliament sitting". The Straits Times. 1 October 2018. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Profile – Yip Pin Xiu, McDonald's Singapore, retrieved 18 December 2008. Archived 6 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b c d e Mindy Tan, "She misses gold with a stroke Archived 6 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine", The New Paper, 15 September 2008.
  8. ^ a b c d "The wonder of Pin Xiu", TODAY, 7 June 2008.
  9. ^ a b c Sim Chi Yin, "I like the way I am now", The Straits Times, 17 September 2008.
  10. ^ "Swimming: Graduate Yip can now train full time". The Straits Times. 15 July 2018. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  11. ^ a b Wang Meng Meng, "Yip smashes two world records for the disabled", The Straits Times, 28 May 2008.
  12. ^ a b c "Swimmer Yip Pin Xiu is Singapore's golden girl", Channel NewsAsia, 16 September 2008.
  13. ^ a b Chia Han Keong, "Paralympian wonder girls", my paper, 22 September 2008, retrieved on 13 December 2008.
  14. ^ a b c Jeremy Auyong, "Unequal rewards can be made fairer", The Straits Times, 19 September 2008.
  15. ^ a b Jeanette Wang, "More for medalists", The Straits Times, 22 November 2008.
  16. ^ a b Tan Yo-Hinn, "Paralympic hopefuls in line for more support Archived 1 October 2008 at WebCite", TODAY, 17 September 2008.
  17. ^ "Grit, determination take spotlight as Para Games kick off". Today. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  18. ^ "Yip Pin Xiu sets two world records in gold-medal swim at Paralympics". Today. 10 September 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  19. ^ "Paralympics: Yip Pin Xiu clinches Singapore's 2nd gold medal". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  20. ^ "Yip Pin Xiu clinches Singapore's second swimming gold at 2018 Asian Para Games". Channel NewsAsia. 8 October 2018. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  21. ^ "Swimming: Yip Pin Xiu wins bronze in women's 50m freestyle S4 for third Asian Para Games medal". The Straits Times. 12 October 2018. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  22. ^

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