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SEA Games 2019: Medal a blessing for Gymnastics

12 December 2019
By Angelina Dass

Singapore’s gymnastics contingent will not return empty-handed from the 30th Southeast Asian Games after Sean Yeo clinched the bronze medal in the Men’s horizontal bar event.

Leah Chew executing a beautiful performance to advance to the women’s (rhythmic) individual ribbon finals.

The sport had delivered 2 silver and 3 bronze medals at the 2017 edition of the Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Team Manager Karen Norden attributed the decrease in medals to an absence of all-around events this year, where Singapore won three of its five medals in 2017. Despite this, Karen says the 10-strong contingent had a good showing in the Philippines.

Avryl Tan Ying placed seventh out of eight competitors in the women’s rhythmic individual ball finals held on Saturday (7 Dec). Her teammate Leah Chew fared better, placing fourth.

“We are pleased as we made it through to the finals for three apparatus with a team of three debutants and Avryl’s first time at SEA Games focusing on just the individual events. The girls performed their best and had been well prepared by coach Irina Bessmertnaya,” she added.

Leah Chew in action at the women’s (rhythmic) individual ball finals where she finished 4th. 

Karen said that Singapore Gymnastics knows it needs to continue building its high-performance culture and focus on the development of its coaches and athletes while working with Sport Singapore to gain an increase in Sport Science and Sport Medicine support.

“We really have a six to eight-year plan to have a true athlete-centric high-performance programme for gymnastics where our athletes are stronger and more mentally resilient,” she said.

“This has meant that over the past two years, we have looked at how we can build the capacity and capability of the clubs and coaches in the community. It’s a long-term plan supported by Sport Singapore. We have brought in experts to upskill our community, (and) develop a robust and integrated coach education framework that will underpin the development of home-grown coaches,” she added.

“It takes six years for Women's Artistic Gymnastics and Rhythmic Gymnastics and eight years for Men's Artistic Gymnastics to see any true results of the hard work that we have put in place."

Avryl Tan in action at the women’s (rhythmic) individual ball finals where she placed 7th 

Karen, who is also General Manager of Singapore Gymnastics, said the future of Singapore gymnastics is an exciting one.

“We have some exciting young rhythmic gymnasts that will be eligible for the 2021 SEA Games, namely Angeline Lin and Sophia Ho. In artistic, Shayne Tan who debuted this year will lead a team of younger athletes such as Emma Yap and Mia Tay into the next SEA Games.”

Tags: Major Games

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