Life is about Making A Difference...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"I-M-Possible" - Nothing is Really Not Possible

Two or three days ago, I wrote about Singapore getting its first medal at the Beijing Paralympics Games. On Thursday night's news, I was delighted to know that Laurentia Tan, who won the first Paralympic medal for Singapore, has won another Equestrian Bronze medal.

Nothing is really not possible if we believe in ourselves & our dreams, in what we are doing and work hard towards achieving the goal. Tell ourselves "I-M-Possible"!

Here read on for more about this amazing gal, Laurentia Tan

Channel NewsAsia - Saturday, September 13

SINGAPORE: When she was five, Laurentia Tan was described as a "vegetable". Born with cerebral palsy, she could not speak, hear, walk or sit, and her parents Anselm and Jannie were advised to admit her into an institution.

They refused.

Today, their 29—year—old daughter is an Oxford Brooks University graduate based in the United Kingdom. She has a career, drives a car and is now a star athlete, after collecting a second bronze medal at the 13th Paralympic Games on Thursday.

On Tuesday, she became Singapore’s first Paralympic medallist when she came in third in the individual championship (Grade 1a) event at the Hong Kong Olympic Equestrian Centre in Shatin. On Thursday night, she won bronze again, this time in the individual freestyle test (Grade 1a), posting an average score of 70.167 in the 13—strong field.

Great Britain’s Sophie Christiansen (76.166) and Anne Dunham (73.333) took gold and silver, respectively.

"She has been smiling very happily and gave us a big hug straight away (after winning bronze)," said dad Anselm, 59, in a phone interview from Hong Kong on Thursday night.

Equestrian Federation of Singapore president Melanie Chew added: "We’re absolutely delighted as this is beyond our expectations! Not only does this raise more awareness for equestrian in Singapore, but it also shows any difficulties can be overcome."

Anselm and his wife Jannie moved their family, including son Ephraim, to the UK when Laurentia was four.

"When she was a year old, the doctor said she was spastic. Back then, they didn’t call it cerebral palsy," said Jannie, a government officer.

"We moved to England because the special schools there are very good with the necessary facilities. It was there her deafness was diagnosed. I’m not sure if she could have achieved all this if she had stayed in Singapore then."

Anselm, a businessman, added: "That was Singapore then. Singapore has come a long way in the last 20, 25 years. With the present conditions, she would definitely have been able to achieve this. The level of awareness is much greater now, and we’ve received so much support, including from the Singapore Sports Council, the Singapore Disability Sports Council and so many kind souls."

Tan began horse riding at London’s Diamond Centre Riding for the Disabled when she was five and completed her "A" levels at the Mary Hare Grammar School for the deaf. She pursued equestrian competitively from 2005. In June, she left her job as a mental health worker to train full—time for the Games under coach, Penny Pegrum.

Tan rides with the aid of seat savers and cage stirrups and has teamed up successfully with 20—year—old gelding Harvey, whose official name at the Games is Nothing To Lose.

For her achievement, Tan will earn $25,000 under the Singapore National Paralympic Council’s Athlete Achievement Awards scheme.

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