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Yip Pin Xiu named The Straits Times' Athlete of the Year

Singapore, 26 February 2016 - Para-swimmer Yip Pin Xiu was named The Straits Times' Athlete of the Year 2015 in a gala ceremony on Friday (Feb 26).

The 23-year-old, who suffers from muscular dystrophy which gradually causes her muscles to lose their ability to function, broke the world record in the S2 50m backstroke en route to gold in December's Asean Para Games in Singapore.

She edged out fellow nominees Shayna Ng (bowling), Shanti Pereira (athletics), Khairul Anwar (para-football) and 2014 winner Joseph Schooling (swimming) to become the second para-athlete to win the prestigious annual award.

Equestrian rider Laurentia Tan was the 2012 winner thanks to her two bronze medals at the 2012 London Paralympics.

Yip, who received her award from Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu at the Raffles City Convention Centre, said: "I really wasn't expecting this. All the nominees are so amazing. I'm very surprised and I'd like to thank everyone for the support.

"I'm very grateful for this and I hope that in the years to come the support will grow and we will do even better as One Team Singapore."

The recognition for Yip's accomplishment was a shot in the arm for disability sport in the Republic, noted Ms Fu.

"I'm so happy for Pin Xiu. She deserves it. The fact that we have two out of five finalists from the disability sport speaks volumes about how the sport has come so far.

"The Asean Para Games has been really a game changer that changes the mindset of Singaporeans about disability sport, something that we are very keen to push on and to develop it even more broadly and to give the athletes the encouragement.

"So I think Pin Xiu's award is not just a shot in the arm for disability sport but for her it's really an endorsement about the hard work she has put in.

"To win at this level, to be an elite sportsperson takes years of hard work. I think that Pin Xiu has really demonstrated the can-do spirit, resilience that is epitomised by all our athletes.

"We are very happy to see the athletes today, the finalists, they are actually winners in their own way. They have trained very hard and the Ministry and SportSG has been happy to be along their journey."

Added ST sports editor Marc Lim, who headed the 2015 award's 13-member judging panel: "The calibre of this year's nominees made picking a winner a very tough job for the judging panel. All of them are champions and sporting heroes in their own right. But inspiration is one of the principles of the ST Athlete of the Year award and in 2015, the judges felt that there was no one more inspirational than Pin Xiu.

"Unlike other athletes who are getting stronger, her body is getting weaker. She competed against athletes who are less physically impaired than she is and yet not only managed to beat them, but do so in a world record time. Pin Xiu is the epitome of an athlete who refuses to be beaten, by an opponent or her condition. And that is why she is the ST Athlete of the Year 2015."


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About The Straits Times 

The Straits Times, the English-language flagship daily of Singapore Press Holdings, is the most-read newspaper in Singapore and is followed widely in the region for its comprehensive coverage of local, regional and world news, provided by its correspondents in 20 bureaus in major cities worldwide. 

Launched on July 15, 1845, The Straits Times underwent a major redesign across all platforms in July 2015, when it celebrated its 170th anniversary. This revamp is part of its continuing efforts to refresh its products, maintain quality and stay relevant to the changing needs of its readers. Its integrated newsroom operates round-the-clock, providing readers with news as it happens on all platforms, from its website at, Apple and Android apps to social media. 

The Straits Times is a member of three regional and global networks - Asia News Network, the Climate Publishers Network and the Impact Journalism Day alliance of newspapers - and it has won multiple international media awards, including from the Society of Publishers in Asia, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association (Panpa), Society of News Design and Wan-Ifra. 
It swept 11 awards at the Asia Media Awards 2015, including three Gold for Best News Website (, Best Data Visualisation Project and Best Lifestyle Mobile Service, and five Silver. The paper's school outreach initiatives have won regular top awards, which included the 2015 World Young Reader Prize given by Wan-Ifra, and Best Young Reader programme award by Panpa.