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Wednesday January 23, 2013

Malaysian gymnasts made good progress in Australia

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s unexpected two-bronze showing in rhythmic gymnastics at the recent Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) was a step in the right direction.

And now, it’s up to the gymnasts to keep it that way.

The scratch team of Shak Yuki, Shasangari Sivaneswary Nagarajan and development (pelapis) squad newbies Chong Lok Yi and Iman Iskandar Chan proved that they had what it takes to compete with the world’s best by taking the bronze in the team competition. They garnered 129.917 points.

Hosts Australia, represented by Tara Wilkie, Marlee-Shae Holden, Anastasia Katharios and Michaela Whitehouse, scored 145.233 points to clinch the gold ahead of China’s Liu Xixin, Xu Xiaolan, Wang Ruoqi and Shang Rong. The Chinese accumulated 139.617.

Thirteen-year-old Iman won another bronze for Malaysia in the all-around event with 44.467 points. Whitehouse was the gold medallist with a 49.167 total while Xiaolan (45.733) finished second.

It was the first time Malaysia won medals in rhythmic gymnastics in four appearances at the AYOF.

“It was not a bad outing. We made some mistakes in the routines but it’s our first medals at the festival, so we have made good progress,” said Lidia Legotina, the coach of the national development (pelapis) squad.

“Our gymnasts went into the individual event with more or less the same programme. It was more of who could give a stronger performance, better presentation of the routine. Iman did well. She made fewer mistakes and her performance was much more stable,” added the Russian.

“Now, it all depends on how well they (the gymnasts) train and practise. The need to keep themselves in good shape and keep their drive going.”

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