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Gymnasts win first medals at Pacific Rim

The Straits Times | Chan U-gene | Monday, Apr 14, 2014

The Singapore junior girls finished second in the hoops event at the Pacific Rim Championships and took the bronze medal in the overall junior girls' rhythmic event. This photo is courtesy of Singapore Gymnastics.

SINGAPORE - Clinching two medals in their best performance at the Pacific Rim Championships in Canada, Singapore's rhythmic gymnasts boosted hopes of a golden haul at next year's SEA Games.

The junior girls' quintet of Edlyn Ho, Noelle Goh, Alison Tang, who are 15, and Yeo Siew Lyn and Jael Chew, both 14, took silver in the hoops event - the first time Singapore have won a medal at the competition.

They scored 12.050, losing to China with 12.900 and followed by the United States in third place with 12.000. The four-day competition at Richmond in the Canadian province of British Columbia concludes today.

The biennial competition attracted 15 entries from nations located around the Pacific Rim and showcased the artistic, rhythmic, and trampoline disciplines.

That result also helped Singapore to claim the bronze in the overall junior girls' rhythmic event, which included the clubs competition - where they were fourth.

Canada made up the final team in the four-way contest won by China, while the US took silver.

Said team manager Chong Yi Wei of the performance in the competition: "This display of their achievements will give them a boost to work harder towards the SEA Games.

"The silver was a bonus. The other countries are very strong and have a much longer history in the sport compared to us."

China and the US are the world's powerhouses in the sport, but depending on their training plans and schedules, they do not necessarily send their top squads to the competition.

However, some world-beaters such as American artistic gymnast Kyla Ross - who was part of the 2012 Olympics gold-winning "Fierce Five" - competed in Richmond.

Singapore Gymnastics president Goh Hwee Cheng hopes that this result will add to the confidence of the rhythmic team as they prepare for the 2015 SEA Games.

She said: "Singapore is hosting and we will need to have better results."

While the sport was not included in the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar, Singapore claimed one gold, two silvers and one bronze at the 2011 edition in Indonesia.

The number of events for 2015 are yet to be confirmed, depending on the enrolment rate. According to the SEA Games charter, each event requires at least four nations to sign up before it can be held.

ugenec@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 12 in The Straits Times.

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