Seventeen-year-old Jeremiah Loo moved to China in 2012 in pursuit of his dream of becoming a world champion artistic gymnast.
PETALING JAYA: The right sacrifices will pay dividends.
That seems to be the case for national artistic gymnast Jeremiah Loo.
The 17-year-old Penangite who moved to China in 2012 in pursuit of his dream of becoming a world champion has taken a huge step towards that dream by qualifying for the 2nd Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Nanjing from Aug 16-28.
Jeremiah is the first Malaysian male gymnast to qualify for the competition. Malaysia were not represented in the male and female artistic competition at the inaugural Games in Singapore in 2010.
The YOG will be a litmus test for Jeremiah to gauge his skills against his peers from all over the world as Malaysia seek to revive their fortunes in artistic gymnastics.
However, Jeremiah is not too worried about that yet. In fact, he’s perfectly comfortable keeping his head down and concentrating on his goals for Nanjing.
“I’m very happy to have qualified. I’m just looking to gain experience. But knowing that I’ve qualified leads me to believe I’ve made the right choice moving to China,” said Jeremiah, who currently trains at the Tuo Dong Ti Yu Guan school in Kunming, China.
“My goal right now is to train hard and get as many podium finishes as possible in Nanjing,” he added.
No doubt, success at the YOG would be the perfect way to underline his choice of training in China.
Opting to leave home at 15 was a big decision and Jeremiah spent a year and a half in Guangzhou (at Sha Dao Ti Yu Guan) before moving to Kunming in September last year.
“It was a big step ... a lot of adjustments. The equipment is better and the training is so much tougher here,” said Jeremiah.
“I’m a lot more tired after the (training) sessions. So, all I have to do is train hard,” added Jeremiah, who aspires to emulate the success of 13-time world champion Kohei Uchimura of Japan.
Uchimura, widely recognised for being able to execute routines of higher difficulty, is the first gymnast to bag the individual all-around title at the World Championships in a single Olympic cycle. He won the gold in the individual all-around events at the Worlds in 2009, 2010 and 2011 before capping off his perfect run with the gold at the 2012 London Olympics.
“He’s able to master and execute difficult routines and poses. It’s something I hope to emulate,” said Jeremiah.