Trinidad and Tobago Paralympic swimmer Shanntol Ince won this country’s first gold medal at the 2013 Youth Parapan American Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, yesterday, taking first place in the women’s S9 400 metres freestyle final.
The 18-year-old swimmer touched the wall in five minutes, 30.41 seconds to top the field. She will be back in the pool today for the 100m backstroke.
Ince will also compete in the 100m butterfly and freestyle events.
“I feel really elated with my performance and I thank Jesus for everything he has done. My parents sacrificed a lot and to see that it all paid off is a great feeling for me,” Ince told the Express after the win. “I would also like to thank my club Areios Aquatechs and my coach Franz Huggins.
“This race was not really my best,” the gold medallist continued. “It could have been better but that is all behind me now. I really need to stay calm and focused to achieve faster times and medal in my other races.”
President of the T&T Paralympic Committee (TTPC), Kenneth McKell is in Buenos Aires, and witnessed Ince’s golden swim.
“This is the first time we have been to Youth Parapan Games. She went to Paralympic Games in London last year...this is the start of her journey to Rio 2016, so we just have to keep on improving her time.”
Minister of Sport Anil Roberts was thrilled with the young swimmer’s performance.
“As Shanntol’s former coach, I could not be happier for this extremely dedicated athlete. She has worked so very hard over the years to improve in the sport she loves. Her extremely supportive family and faith in God undoubtedly played an important part in her victory today. I hope Shanntol basks in the glow of this latest achievement for herself, her family and for Trinidad and Tobago. She thoroughly deserves it!”