Tan Sze En. Photo: Singapore Gymnastics
It’s been seven years since we witnessed our very first Singaporean gymnast qualify and compete at the Olympic Games. Well, another chapter in local sports was written yesterday when Tan Sze En booked her place to compete at the Tokyo Games next July. Following the completion of the 2019 World Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) released the list of Artistic Gymnastics 2020 Olympic Qualifiers. And the 19-year-old Singaporean secured her spot, after an impressive performance at her first World Champs campaign.
Sze En’s achievement has come after an exceptional amount of hard work and dedication. What is even more remarkable is that it was only last year in August, following the 2018 Asian Games, that she had shoulder surgery. Currently, she is based and training at Legacy Elite Gymnastics in the United States. And she’ll now put on hold the start of her NCAA career at Stanford University, in order to focus and prepare for Tokyo 2020.
Upon hearing of her qualification for the Olympics, Sze En said: “I’m really excited to have qualified for the Olympics. Going into the World Championships, I didn’t have high expectations of qualifying, so this came as a total surprise. I’m really thankful for the support from Singapore Gymnastics, my coaches, and family. I couldn’t have done it without them!”
Photo: Singapore Gymnastics
Singapore Gymnastics are absolutely thrilled with the results and looking forward to seeing Sze En perform at the pinnacle event in any athletes career. She is the second gymnast to achieve this feat, and follows in the footsteps of Lim Heem Wei, who in 2012, in London, was the first Singaporean gymnast to compete at the Olympics for the Republic. This achievement will unite and excite the gymnastics community, and will also show every gymnast in Singapore that if they believe and dream, they can achieve!
Singapore Gymnastics President, Derek Mollison, said: "We are so happy for Sze En, her family and all who have played a part in her journey. Her achievement is an inspiration to us all and shows every gymnast in Singapore that if they believe in themselves, work hard and dream big, they can compete at a world level. This further spurs everyone within the gymnastics community in Singapore to provide every support to all our gymnasts in their arduous daily training so that they too may achieve their dreams.”
Sze En will be competing at the upcoming 2019 SEA Games in Manila, where she is a true contender to medal on bars and the beam. While her sights are now set on Tokyo, she'll be looking forward to a successful SEA Games campaign to cement herself as one of the top athletes in the region. The Games of the XXXII Olympiad will be held in Tokyo (JPN) from 24 July to 9 August 2020.