Olivia Tai Qing Tong delivered in the hoop event to score 14.050 and place third out of 40 gymnasts at the 13th Junior Rhythmic Gymnastics Asian Championships. – YAP CHEE HONG / The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian duo Olivia Tai Qing Tong and Shasangari Sivaneswary have qualified for the hoop finals of the 13th Junior Rhythmic Gymnastics Asian Championships.
Competing in the all-around individual and team qualification competition, the duo showed they had equal parts of heart and talent when they bounced back from early disappointment.
Olivia, who had two fumbles in the ball event, had to settle for a score of 12.800. However, the 15-year-old redeemed herself with a biting performance in the hoop event to score 14.050, to place third out of 40 gymnasts and win a spot in Monday’s final.
Team-mate Shasangari, shared a similar fate, fumbling in the ball event (13.050) and bouncing back to score 13.750 in the hoop event to also earn her spot in the finals.
Their compatriot Koi Sei Yan scored 12.200 (ball) and 12.100 (hoop).
The trio will compete in two more events, clubs and ribbon, on Saturday. Their combined scores from the ball and hoop will be added to Saturday’s scores for a grand total (scores of all four events) to determine the champion for the all-around team event.
The individual scores of all the gymnasts will also be taken into account for Sunday’s all-around individual final, as only the top two performing gymnasts from each country will make the final.
In the group exercise competition, there was no denying hot-favourites Uzbekistan whose near flawless routine saw them clinch the top spot in the hoop event with a score of 14.250.
China (14.117) and Kazakhstan (14.000) were not to be outdone, putting in equally strong performances to finish second and third respectively.
However, there were fumbles all around and hosts Malaysia were not immune as they suffered a fumble early on in the routine.
However, the group of Thew Yue Jia, Chan Mei Thung, Adelina Theresa Mathews, Chai Xin Nong and Yap Sin Lu recovered quickly to finish their routine well to earn 10.800 and place seventh out of nine teams.
Malaysia will need to put up a rousing performance in the clubs event on Saturday to secure a place in the apparatus (hoop and clubs) finals on Monday. Only the top eight countries will go on to compete in the group finals on Monday.