Olivia Tai Qing Tong won the gold in the clubs event at the 13th Junior Rhythmic Gymnastics Asian Championships on Monday. - BERNAMA
KUALA LUMPUR: Born in the Year of the Rabbit, Olivia Tai Qing Tong proved she’s more of a tiger when she clinched gold in the clubs event at the 13th Junior Rhythmic Gymnastics Asian Championships.
Competing at the Putra Stadium on Monday, Olivia did not have the perfect start as she could only manage 12.75 in the hoop to finish sixth in the eight-gymnast final. Shasangari Sivaneswary, the other Malaysian finalist, was placed fifth with 13.15 points.
However, Olivia came roaring back in the clubs to score 14.50 to clinch Malaysia’s first gold of the championships. Silver went to Kazakhstan’s Yelizaveta Mainovskaya with a 14.35 total. Uzbekistan’s Anora Davlyatova and Japan’s Takana Tatsuzawa shared the bronze with 14.300 points.
Shasangari Sivaneswary, the other Malaysian finalist, was placed fifth with 13.15 points.
Besides the gold, Olivia also took home a silver in the ribbon when she accumulated 14.15 points. Tatsuzawa emerged champion with a 14.30 total while Davlyatova was third with 13.90 points.
“I dropped my hoop during the routine. So I told myself to make up for the mistake in the clubs event,” said the 15-year-old from SMK Convent Bukit Nanas in Kuala Lumpur.
“I’m very happy to win the gold. I have to thank all the coaches that have helped me to prepare for these championships. This gold is for them too,” said Olivia, who also won the all-around individual bronze on Sunday.
She now hopes to be picked for the second Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Nanjing, China, from Aug 16-28.
“I have to wait for the official confirmation from the FIG (International Gymnastics Federation). If I qualify, I hope I can make Malaysia proud once more,” added Olivia.
Malaysia also managed to pick up a bronze in the hoop event of the group apparatus final. Thew Yue Jia, Chan Mei Thung, Adelina Theresa Mathews, Chai Xin Nong and Yap Sin Lu combined for a 12.517 total.
Uzbekistan took the gold with14.250 points while China bagged the silver with a 14.15 total.
In the clubs event, Kazakhstan bounced back to take the gold with a superb performance. They scored 14.583 points compared to Japan (13.593) and China (13.450). Malaysia put up a mistake-laden show to finish sixth with 12.90 points.
“Our aim was to get to the finals. We have surpassed our target by winning three medals of different colours today,” said team manager Dr Farrah-Hani Imran.
“We aimed for a top six finish in the group exercise. The girls exceeded the target by winning the bronze. We’re very happy with the teamwork shown by all the girls,” added Dr Farrah-Hani.