Shanntol Ince, the 18-year-old Paralympic Swimmer was the only T&T national represented at the 2013 Youth Parapan American Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ince left the Games with four gold medals in all. She was first to touch the wall in the women’s S9 100 metre butterfly and the women’s S9 100 metre freestyle, earlier in the week. Her other wins, include first place at the S9 400 metre freestyle on Thursday and followed up with gold in the 100 metre backstroke on Friday.
At the butterfly final, Ince won in a time of one minute, 21.89 seconds to finish ahead of Mexico’s Isabel Martinez, who clocked 1:45.85. She also finished ahead of Martinez in the freestyle event, touching the wall in a time of 1:12.86 seconds. Martinez clocked 1:29.63 in the freestyle final.
According to President of the T&T Paralympic Committee, Kenneth McKell, the T&T swimmer wins--four gold medals in four events and her style in the pool--impressed many at the event and around the world. “This is a proud moment for us. You cannot ask for anything better than four gold medals in four events. She did her best and did her country proud and she has drawn admiration from the American Paralympic body as well and the International Paralympic Organisation.
She carried herself as a true diplomat and athlete and we can all be proud of what she has accomplished. Her style and movement were very smooth and she had good form in the pool and those were some of the commendations she got from and her major competitors, who all complemented her on carrying the regional flag so to speak,” ” said McKell, who was in Argentina to witness the games.
McKell noted that her achievements ought to inspire other young athletes in T&T. and motivate others to get into the pool.
“We have some young swimmers coming up and this provides them with an example on what we could achieve. It will inspire them,” he added.
Minister of Sport, Anil Roberts has extended congrats to Ince, "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!" said Roberts.
In 2002, Ince travelled to London for her first Paralympic Games in 2012 and won the Spirit of Sport Award (SOSA) that same year for Best Athlete with a Disability (Physical).
Now in its third year, the Youth Parapan American Games are a quadrennial event for 14-21 year old athletes with disabilities.