Rhythmic gymnastics is an elegant form of gymnastics that came into fruition in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Founded on the visions of Jean-Georges Noverre and Francois Delsarte, the discipline uses dance elements to develop aesthetic expression and grace with the human body.
Over the last weekend, athletes from North Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand and hosts Singapore converged on Bishan Sports Hall for the 12th Singapore Open Gymnastics Championships (Rhythmic Gymnastics). Photo: Sport Singapore
Their counterparts from the artistic gymnastics disciplines competed the week before and this week was a chance for the young ladies to leap through the air, manipulating hoop, rope, ball, clubs and ribbon.
A veteran of seven Singapore Opens at only 18 years of age is Daphne Chia (below). Chia who represented the republic in the recently concluded SEA Games, said it was an amazing experience performing on home ground where "the atmosphere was really different compared to the Commonwealth Games".
Team Singapore gymnast Daphne Chia. Photo: VoxSports
Chia also said the Singapore Open was a good opportunity for local gymnasts to compete and compare themselves with neighbouring countries and "international rivals".
One country that participated for the first time ever in this gymnastics meet was North Korea, and Chia said this added competition will encourage Singapore's young athletes to work harder.
A Hong Kong gymnast competing during the 12th Singapore Open Gymnastics Championships. Photo: Sport Singapore
"This is the first time North Korea is participating. On the international level the North Koreans have not been participating because of sanctions. Having them here today, it will give our junior girls motivation to work harder because they are definitely one league above us," she said.
A gymnast from North Korea warms up during the 12th Singapore Open Gymnastics Championships. Photo: Sport Singapore
Despite her young age, Chia will retire from competitions as she will be pursuing a degree in medicine at Cambridge University. Her involvement in the sport, however, will not end here as she intends to get her judging certification in time for the next Olympic cycle.