By Lin Xinyi
THEY may have narrowly missed the qualification criteria, but the Singapore rhythmic gymnastic team's Youth Olympic Games (YOG) dreams are still very much alive.
Following an appeal by Singapore Gymnastics to the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique, the world body has decided that the hosts can field a four-girl team for the Aug 14-26 Games.
During the Rhythmic Gymnastics Asian Junior Championships - the qualifying event for the YOG - in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in February, the quartet of Vivien Ho, Phaan Yi Lin, Cecilia Chia and Ann Sim fell 0.275 short of the 7.5 average score required.
Since then, they have been anxiously awaiting the decision of the world governing body.
'We continued training hard so that we would be prepared if we make the YOG,' said 15-year-old Yi Lin, of Raffles Girls' School. 'The successful appeal is a form of motivation for us as our chances of getting into the YOG are higher now.'
Their participation at the inaugural Games will ultimately be decided by the Singapore National Olympic Council.
Said Singapore Gymnastics vice-president Lee Hong Chuang: 'We are happy that we've gotten this far and achieved what we had set out to do.'
Timothy Tay, 16, and Rachel Giam, 14, have also qualified for the boys' and girls' individual artistic gymnastics events.
Their training session yesterday at the Co-Curricular Activities Branch was observed by Bob Gambardella, the Singapore Sports Council's sports development group chief.
Gambardella also called on the Singapore Judo Federation. His inspections are part of the Singapore Youth Sports Development committee's visits to national sports associations that are involved in the YOG.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.