THE Federal Territory Amateur Gymnastics Association (FTAGA) has created history. Not only have they organised the biggest gymnastics competition but also produced new talents at grassroots.
About 700 participants, including 100 foreigners, took part in the three-day Kuala Lumpur Gymnastics Carnival at Gymnasium One, National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil recently.
However, the most encouraging factor was the performance by participants in the Under-9 age group.
According to FTAGA president M.P. Haridas, the young gymnasts are all products of their development programmes.
“We started the training programmes for the young kids about five years ago. Now the girls have learnt the basics and are showing their potential. With more intensive training, the girls have the capabilities to take over from the seniors in the near future.
“We have to commend the coaches for their untiring efforts in promoting gymnastics. We are also glad that this year’s carnival is the biggest in the country. We have plans to make this championships bigger in the coming years,” he said.
Besides participants from Kuala Lumpur, Selangor Perak, Malacca, Kelantan and Pahang, the carnival also attracted participants from Japan and Thailand.
To make the carnival an interesting affair, other events linked to gymnastics were also included.
There were group gymnastic performances by participants from secondary schools as well as Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris Shah (Upsi).
The last day of the carnival also saw international Durratun Nashihin Rosli delighting the 2,000 over crowd with a display.
Durratun, who won four silver medals in the recent Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, was excellent with her graceful routines in the clubs event.
She also won silver medals in the individual overall, rope and team events.
Several parents also commended the FTAGA for organising the interesting carnival.
Tony Wong said the organisers should also be praised for inviting Durratun to perform at the closing ceremony.
“The performance was superb and the young gymnasts would be inspired,” said Wong.
Deputy Sports Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai was also impressed by FTAGA programmes.
“Gymnastics has been identified as one of the eight core sports. I am happy to see a lot of young talents in action in the championships.
“Furthermore many of them did not show any stage fright. FTAGA are on the right track in grooming gymnasts for the country.
“The ministry will continue to support their programmes,” said Liow.
National squad trainees Jamie Lee and Yap Lee Ya were the best gymnasts in the championships. Lee won two gold medals in the senior category. Her gold medals came in the rope and individual all round events. Yap was the winner in rope, hoop and individual all round events.
Haridas said most of the FTAGA gymnasts are currently training for Sukma, to be held in Alor Star.
“They gave a good account in this championships. Based on their performances, we have a good chance of making an impact in Sukma,” said Haridas.