Ever since he was 5 years old, Salihin dreamt of being a sportsman. Brought to a swimming lesson by his teacher at then MINDS Yio Chu Kang, Salihin fell in love with the sport, hoping that one day he will be able to represent Singapore in the sports arena. From then on, he started to be involved in swimming, athletics, badminton and football.
Since 1995, Salihin has been representing Singapore at the Special Olympics in various sporting events. He clinched a gold, silver and bronze medal for swimming in the Special Olympics New Zealand National Games in 1999 and his subsequent participation in the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Ireland won him two bronze medals in badminton. He also went on take part in the Tribob Race 2009, Osim Biathlon, Army Bay Runs, Passion Runs and many other public sporting events.
Through his sporting achievements, Salihin constantly seeks to clear to misconception that people with intellectual disabilities are incapable of sporting success. In 2011, he succeeded in being the first athlete with intellectual disabilities in Asia and Singapore to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.
Salihin is currently actively involved in the weekly Running and Badminton club as an assistant coach. Under the guidance of the volunteer coaches, he assist by coaching the younger athletes the different skills and running alongside them during races. Salihin is currently employed by Atelier Z as a dental technician, who is responsible for producing dental prosthesis and mouth guards.
Salihin always stands by the Special Olympics Oath, "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." He hopes to inspire other youths to continuously persevere and challenge themselves to do their best in whatever they can to turn their dreams into reality.
Salihin bin Sinai, the first athlete with intellectual disabilities in Asia and Singapore to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Ever since he was 5 years old, Salihin dreamt of being a sportsman. Brought to a swimming lesson by his teacher at then MINDS Yio Chu Kang, Salihin fell in love with the sport, hoping that one day he will be able to ...
Flying from Changi Airport, I was happy to see many people sending us off. Tim, a coach who trained me, and my family were all there. The flight to Athens was 12 hours long but the stewardesses were pretty and we took photos together. We spent 4 days at a seaside hotel. The room, the beach, the hot weather were all very nice. The food was also good, but we ate the same thing for breakfast every day. We had training every day and one of the days, we also played games like soccer and basketball. Kia Song and I also trained by swimming in the sea with Akmal looking out for us and timing us, The three of us also did out last long run of 15km along the beach. It was a very nice run with the wind, the sun, the waves and all the people on the beach. On some nights, the whole track and field team would meet in one of the hotel room where Emily would conduct team meetings.
The Games Village was also nice. I got a nice room with a tree right outsidemy door and lots of blur fruits fall down every day. We trained every day either running 5km or swam. The opening ceremony was very nice with so many people but we had to wait very long to walk into the stadium. I was happy to see many people supporting Team Singapore at the stadium. I liked the fireworks, but we came back to the Village late, and we started early the next morning. The half-marathon event would only start on 3 July, so besides our training, we went down to support Track and Field, Swimming and Basketball. The sun was very hot, so we had to use the sun block every day.
My turn to compete came on 3 July. Before we started, I bumped into an Australian athlete whom I've met a few days earlier and took photos with him. The race started, and it was a very nice feeling. The slope was high, and the sun was hot, so I drank a lot of water. I wanted to finish all the way and not half-way. Towards the end, one of the Unified athletes ran with me and encouraged me to finish the race faster. I was very happy I got the gold and a timing of 1 hour 53 mins.
At the closing ceremony, I changed a lot of pins, in the end I had 23 pins from many different countries. I can keep them as a souvenir. I liked Wonder Girls performing at the closing ceremony an the fireworks at the end.
The whole thing finished so fast. We moved to a hotel for one day. I ate souvlaki for lunch; I can eat anything now because the race is over. I liked the taste and it was very oily inside. We took the train and visited the Acropolis. I liked the inside, but it was very hot. We took a lot of photos and went shopping. I bought gifts for my boss and other friends. On that last night, Kia Song and I spent the night in the same room and we talked over our experiences from the past few days. I didn't want to go back to Singapore yet and I wanted to stay in Greece longer. 18 days was not enough. I wanted to stay for one month!
We said goodbye to Nicholas and Martina at the airport. They've really helped Team Singapore. I was sad to go back home. We did our last victory ceremony at Athens airport and took many photos there. At Changi Airport, there were so many people welcoming us back home. I was happy to see them as much as they were happy to see us. We took photos and I even gave an interview.
Tan Too Sheng, a gold medalist in the Half Marathon event.
Flying from Changi Airport, I was happy to see many people sending us off. Tim, a coach who trained me, and my family were all there. The flight to Athens was 12 hours long but the stewardesses were pretty and we took photos ...