Paralympics: Nur Aini will be first Singapore powerlifter at Games in Tokyo

SINGAPORE – After becoming the first female para-powerlifter to represent the Republic at the 2017 Asean Para Games and 2018 Asian Para Games, Nur Aini Mohamad Yasli is making history again.

She will be the Republic’s first representative in the sport at the Paralympics after she was one of four more athletes selected to make the trip to Tokyo by the Singapore National Paralympic Council on Friday (July 9).

She said: “To compete in the Paralympics has always been my dream. I believe that great things can happen when you trust yourself and your ability.

“My journey would not have been fruitful without my main pillar of support, my mother. Thank you for believing in me and pushing me to always strive for excellence.”

The 29-year-old lifted a personal best of 81kg at in the women’s Up to 45kg class at last month’s 11th Fazza Dubai 2021 World Para Powerlifting World Cup to clinch the bronze medal. She also finished fourth in her Asian Para Games debut in 2018 in the same category.

Also announced on Friday were equestrians Laurentia Tan, Gemma Foo and Maximillian Tan, who will feature in the para dressage team event for a third time. Laurentia, who won a silver and bronze medal at London 2012 and a bronze at Beijing 2008, and Foo will also compete in the para dressage individual grade I while Maximillian will compete in the para dressage individual grade II.

Laurentia, who will be making her fourth Paralympics appearance, said: “There is no greater feeling than representing your country at the highest level.

“After all that we have been through the past year, I am elated that the team’s efforts and sacrifices have paid off. Now, just as in past editions, we will give our best and strive to do Singapore proud.”

The four join six other athletes who were selected last month. The six are swimmer and double world record holder Yip Pin Xiu, world No. 1 para-archer Nur Syahidah Alim, shot putter Muhammad Diroy Noordin and Games debutants Steve Tee (cycling), Toh Wei Soong and Sophie Soon (both swimming). Tee, who is visually impaired, will be competing in the Izu Velodrome with his pilot, former national cyclist Ang Kee Meng.

Yip will be looking to retain her titles in the 50m and 100m backstroke (S2), the events in which she holds the world record. Syahidah and Diroy will be competing in their second Paralympics after finishing 13th and ninth respectively in Rio five years ago.

The Tokyo Paralympic Games will start on Aug 24. Selection continues till July 30.

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