Former Her World Young Woman Achiever of the Year winner Yip Pin Xiu is going from the swimming pool to Parliament, as she makes history as Singapore’s youngest Nominated Member of Parliament at age 26. Actress, author and local personality Eunice Olsen previously held this record when she was nominated at age 27 in 2004.
Yip suffers from muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder which slowly breaks down the muscles and also affects her eyesight. The Team Singapore swimmer and seven-time record holder has been winning medals for Singapore since 2005, and has won gold in both the Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in the 50m backstroke S2, as well as a gold in Rio for the 100m backstroke S2.
She was our Young Woman Achiever of the Year in 2008, when she won her first Paralympic gold in Beijing. It wasn’t just a first for her, but also for Singapore.
As to why she and under 30 nominee Abbas Ali Mohamed Irshad were nominated to be NMPs, Leader of the House and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said, “They will enrich debate by bringing the voices of the youth to the House,” in an interview in The Straits Times.
Yip was quoted in the same interview as saying: “I hope to use my experience in the sporting arena as an athlete to make our sporting culture a more vibrant one. I also hope to bring a fresh voice for youth and speak up for equality.”
In light of her recent nomination, here’s some things you might want to know about this new NMP.
1. Yip started to compete competitively at age 12
2. She had already collected a whopping 38 gold medals from various competitions by 2008, the year she won gold at the Beijing Paralympics
Photo: The Straits Times
3. Instead of deferring her O’Levels, she chose to study and compete for the Beijing Paralympics – and succeeded at both
The challenge that many Singaporean athletes face is that of balancing school and sports. In 2008, when i was training for my first paralympics, i was given the option to delay my studies for a year to train full time so as to fully concentrate on my O levels the next year to get better grades. However i felt that i was able to do both at the same time. My parents were fully supportive of my choice. They looked beyond my grades and supported my endeavors and dedication to training. My mother has always supported my decisions and I am so thankful for that. Without them, i would not have overcome the challenge. This Mother’s Day, @proctergamble and @fairpricesg celebrate the athletes from Special Olympics and all the moms who help us achieve our dreams through their unconditional love. Head over to @fairpricesg’s new online store to enjoy exciting offers on your favourite P&G products and partial proceeds will go towards Special Olympics #LoveOverBias #ThankYouMom
4. She’s BFFs with fellow medalist and Paralympian swimmer Theresa Goh
5. She broke the world record for both the 50m S2 and 100m S2 backstroke at the Rio Paralympics 2016… Both of which were previously held by herself
Couldn’t see the scoreboard so when I reached coached at the side of the pool, the first thing I said was “did we do it?”. I didn’t have to wait for an answer though. His smile told me everything I needed to know. Being back on top with double gold in #rio2016 was a far dream, but we made it! Majulah Singapura. So grateful for those who made it possible. x Words cannot describe how I feel. :’) #oneteamsg #rioparalympics #tgpxgorio #tgpxsmashedrio #15sep2016 PC: Sport SG
6. She met Prince Charles and Camilla when she took part in the Queen’s Baton Relay in 2017
Was part of the Queen’s Baton Relay together with other athletes. We had the privilege of meeting Prince Charles, and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. (They were suuuuper nice) The Queen placed a message in the baton, which will travel across more than 70 territories before reaching Gold Coast for the Commonwealth Games next year where the message will be unveiled! #commonwealthgames #queenbatonrelay #batonrelay #goldcoast #oneteamsg #canintroharrytomepls #meetgeorgeandcharlottealsocan
7. She’s often called to speak at forums, both locally and abroad, where she talks about the Paralympian movement
Got to meet athlete representatives from different countries during the forum. We managed to learn about and discuss interesting topics such as communication and NPC models. Athletes have a role to play (possibly outside of the sporting arena too) in helping the Paralympic movement grow and this is a good start! #ipc #ipcathletesforum #proudparalympian
8. In 2016 SMU created the Yip Pin Xiu scholarship in her name, their first-ever full sports scholarship. Yip is an alumnus of SMU, having graduated with a degree in social science
School’s out. ✋ From freshmen camp, SOSCIETY, all the group projects to internships, BSM and classes, I have had the chance to experience more and forge great friendships. It has been a good 5 years. Even though it hasn’t been easy juggling training and school, i am glad it pulled through. Thanks for the memories, SMU. #ignitepassion #polscience #pleasedontfailme #tolongletmepassCAT #gradsoonlo #sosciety #partofme #sogladimdone #smu #smusg #freedommmmm
9. A highly driven and positive person, Yip has always been vocal about her dreams of giving back to the para-sports community and young athletes, such as through sharing sessions that will help them become better athletes and to show them a career in sports is just the beginning
⠀ Team Heartwork. We are a group of like-minded athletes that are grateful for all the help and support we have received from the community over the years. We now want to do what we can to spread the love back to different segments of the community. Follow us on @teamheartwork and watch out for more info, our initiatives, and come spread the love too! teamheartwork #oneteamsg #spreadthelove #givingback
We can’t wait to see what she achieves once she’s sworn in as NMP on September 26.