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Camaraderie fuels gymnasts in pursuit of progress for #OneTeamSG

15 February 2018
By Nicolette Mok

Besides the training and individual results, there is also the camaraderie and support that TeamSG artistic gymnast Sean Yeo appreciates about his sport.

The gymnasium has been his playground since he was eight years old, and he began taking part in intensive training sessions with the national team two years later. He has sustained injuries, but also earned the honour of representing Singapore at the SEA Games. 

Melbourne World Cup 2018_ Sean Yeo Captain
TeamSG Artistic Gymnast – Sean Yeo 

Today, almost 10 years later, TeamSG artistic gymnast Sean Yeo focuses on more than just results. Although good standings on the regional and international stage had once been his main goal, he now appreciates the other joys that his sport brings: new experiences, new skills, and – more importantly – team spirit.

Currently training six times a week, the Republic Polytechnic student is, along with his team, preparing for the Gymnastics World Cup in Melbourne. They are due to fly off for the competition on the second day of the Lunar New Year.

But that is fine, as he shares while laughing: “The team is also family anyway!”

Melbourne World Cup 2018_Meet the Team
Meet the squad that is representing Singapore for the Gymnastics World Cup in Melbourne
L to R: Terry Tay, Hoe Wah Toon, Aizat Jufrie, Kaeson Lim, Sean Yeo
(Photo credit: Sean)

Sean, who will be captaining this Australia-bound squad, continued: “There are five of us going to the World Cup. Three of them are seniors: Aizat Jufrie, Hoe Wah Toon and Terry Tay. They’re all people I look up to, and they care a lot for me and the team. They also always share with us their competition experience and help us with our skills. And then we have my junior, Kaeson Lim, who has been in the same secondary school and polytechnic as me all this time!”

While artistic gymnastics is a sport that does not require the teamwork and seamless coordination that others such as football or basketball might demand, our local men’s squad recognises the value of their camaraderie nevertheless.

“Even though we do an individual sport, it’s not about training on your own and moving forward on your own. I want all of us to move forward together as a team, training together, learning new skills together, doing better routines together,” he asserted. 

Melbourne World Cup 2018_Sean in Training
Sean in action on the Pommel Horse and his team mates cheering him on

“Our biggest strength is our team spirit. That’s what motivates us to keep coming for training every day and helping each other. My coach also always encourages us to keep shouting for each other during training. We stand by the side and cheer each other on,” he shared.

Sean went on to offer a personal account on how his teammates’ support had helped him last year when he almost called time on his high-performance career. He had suffered a bad ankle sprain at the 2017 Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships, recovering only to sustain this same injury during a warm-up session just before his pet event (high bar) at the SEA Games three months later.

Melbourne World Cup 2018_ Sean Injury
Ankle injury in 2017 (Photo credit: Sean’s Instagram @sean.yeo)

He revealed: “I came back to Singapore and thought to myself that it was all over. It was really the support from my parents, coach, and teammates that helped me through. All of us sustain injuries, and we understand how it feels. Whenever anyone’s injured, the team will motivate each other and encourage each other to bounce back.”

“I eventually decided not to give up just yet. I’ve trained for so many years already, and I wanted to push on and go for more major Games!” Sean revealed.

Evident from his present form, he is certainly on his desired track. Recovering quickly and qualifying for his first World Cup, he now hopes to make the final in the high bar event at the upcoming Melbourne meet – as well as enjoy the experience there.

Melbourne World Cup 2018
Coach Ryosuke Kusumi (centre) and team

“I hope to make the top eight…But I don’t want us to just go there and kill ourselves over it! It’s important to have fun as a team too,” he explained, adding that he also hoped to qualify for the Commonwealth and Asian Games this year.

“Of course, I want to stay injury-free too! I hope to just be healthy and keep giving what I can to my sport, progressing step-by-step and eventually going for more major Games,” Sean concluded.

For now, Sean and his team will be competing at the Gymnastics World Cup in Melbourne from 22 - 25 February, so stand with them as they keep working towards achieving success – and ‘Like’ our Facebook page for all the updates!

 

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