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Friday October 12, 2007

Youngster wants to master artistic and rhythmic gymnastics

BUDDING gymnast Chong Shin Yee, 11, is an introvert. However, the Sri Kuala Lumpur Year Five pupil is not showing any hesitation when it comes to mastering the acrobatic gymnastics moves.  

While most of her peers are focusing on excelling in either artistic or rhythmic gymnastics, the gusty lass with lean body structure has made her intentions clear that she is determined to master both disciplines.  

Although she is going through a punishing pace with six training sessions a week, she is displaying unflagging interest to improve. 

Acrobatic: Chong balancing her body weight with both hands.
“I took up rhythmic gymnastics when I was five years old. Currently, I go for rhythmic classes on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. For artistic, I train under my school's programme on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. It can be tiring. But it is already part of my usual routine. I can handle it,” said Chong. 

For her rhythmic workout, she trains under Dr Katja Kleinvedt from Germany at the Serdang Rhythmic Angels' centre located at SRJK (C) Serdang Baru 2 in Seri Kembangan.  

“Sometimes, I offer her the option to skip her training sessions (artistic and rhythmic) on Saturday. Frankly, it is because I wanted a break but she will wake up early on her own and want to go,” said Chong's mother Low Yan Ming, a businesswoman.  

Low added that she makes it a point to accompany her daughter for rhythmic meets. 

“At the moment, her school has no rhythmic club. Despite the nerve wrecking moments watching her in action, I want to be there to support her. Unlike artistic gymnastics, the coaching crew (Total Gymnastique) appointed by the school will be there to guide them during competitions.”  

Since she featured in rhythmic competitions at the age of seven, she has won several medals at age-group levels including the Selangor Schools Sports Council (MSSS) meets.  

“Currently, I am in Grade Five for rhythmic gymnastics. The hoop is my favourite apparatus. The other five disciplines that I am taking up are freehand, ball, rope, ribbon and clubs,” Chong added. 

Recently, she had a good outing at the inaugural Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics Friendship Invitational Meet in the artistic section. 

Besides bagging two gold medals in the girls' artistic individual all-round and floor exercise, she also took home silver and bronze medals in the team event and balance beam respectively.  

“She came from a rhythmic background. In training, she is very hardworking. She performs the drills according to the trainers' instructions. She is also a fast learner,” said Total Gymnastique chief coach Mike Ng 

Ng admitted that it a big task for her to cope with both rhythmic and artistic at the same time.  

“Ideally, she should only concentrate on one. But, we are not discouraging her because she likes both disciplines,” he added.  

The recent Under-12 invitational competition drew 24 teams including one side from the Philippines (Muncebul gymnastic club) and two from Thailand (Senachai and Samutsakhon gymnastic clubs).  

Participants were required to perform in three events – floor exercise, vault and balance beam.  

“Despite finishing third, she showed her precision on the balance beam. She completed the reasonable high-level difficulty routine without falling off the beam. To be honest, she lost to the top two contenders from Thailand who were much more physically forceful,” said Ng, adding that Chong possesses good balance and co-ordination in the rotation and twist manoeuvres.  

However, Low is not pressuring Chong to reach the pinnacle in gymnastics and she remains practical about her daughter's chances to reach top flight.  

“We allow her to pursue gymnastics because of her own eagerness to learn the art. We have not set any specific target for her to achieve. We only want her to reach her true potential. Seeing her enjoying it alone is already a great satisfaction,” she added. 


Age: 11 years
School: Sri Kuala Lumpur
Primary School (Year Five)
Height: 1.40m
Weight: 32kg
Favourite Food: Chicken nuggets and chocolate
Favourite Pastime: Playing computer games, watching television, reading, arts and craft

MSSS Artistic Gymnastics Championships girls' Under- 12 team event gold medal and individual all-round bronze medal. 

Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics Friendship Invitational Meet girls' Under- 12 artistic individual all-round and floor exercise (gold), team (silver) and balance beam (bronze).


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