AT just 12 years old, Angel Wong Poe Syuen has big dreams for herself.
With her sights set on one day representing Malaysia at the Youth Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games, the budding rhythmic gymnast from Kuala Lumpur is striving to make her dreams come true by diligently attending training.
Her perseverance has borne fruit thus far as she has garnered a string of accolades under her belt.
Most recently, at the inaugural Petrina Cup international rhythmic gymnastics tournament, which was held from Oct 12 to 15, she won the gold medal in the ribbon event and silver in the clubs event, and was named the individual all-around champion for the Under-12 category.
A student at Campus Rangers International School, Angel said she attends training six days a week – with Sunday being her only day off and a time for her to keep up with her studies by attending tuition.
“From Mondays to Thursdays, after school ends at 3.30pm, I head for training at an academy from 4.30pm to 8.30pm. Then, I have my dinner in the car on the way home so that when I reach, I can immediately shower, do my homework and go to bed,” she told StarEdu.
She added that on Fridays, she leaves school at 12pm and goes for her private ballet class until 2pm, which is followed by her usual rhythmic gymnastics training until 8pm. Her day only ends at 9pm after attending a one-hour group ballet lesson.
Her Saturdays, too, are filled with training for both ballet and rhythmic gymnastics from 8.30am to 1.30pm.
Earlier in September, Angel was the gold medallist in the ribbon event for the pre-junior category at the Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) competition. Alongside her Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (WPKL) teammates, the young lass was also the all-around champion in the team event.
And last July, her achievements in the sport saw her winning the Tunas Harapan Puteri Award at the KPM-MSSM-MILO 2022 award presentation ceremony.
With such a strong commitment to the sport, Angel has high expectations of herself so she was beside herself when she suffered a finger fracture on her left hand just a month before the MSSM competition.
“When I injured my pinkie finger, I had to rest for four days before resuming training. Even then, I had to refrain from using my left hand and could only use my right hand for apparatus handling.
“I was quite stressed during that time,” the left-hander said, adding, “But I constantly told myself that I should not let this hinder my potential and I persevered through it.”
When she reached 90% of her recovery process, she was given the green light by her doctor and her coach to practise her full ribbon routine. By that time, she only had about two weeks of training sessions in both the mornings and afternoons before the MSSM competition.
Her perseverance and strong mindset won out in the end.
Despite her nervousness on the first day of the MSSM competition, Angel said the moment she stepped onto the carpet, all her fears and worries vanished as she told herself: “Just enjoy the performance and do my best.”
Her performance in the qualifying rounds eventually earned her a ticket to the finals where she emerged the gold medallist in the ribbon event.
Angel attributed the support of the Federal Territories Sports Council, her parents, her academy principal Petrina Low and her coach Olivia Tai as her main sources of inspiration.
“Words can’t express how grateful I am to have them in my life. They have inspired me to push myself beyond my limits and to keep on chasing my dreams. Their words of encouragement and support have always motivated me to continuously persevere through my journey in rhythmic gymnastics.”
Driven by her dreams, Angel remains grounded by a goal that she holds on to strongly as her motto: “To become better than I was yesterday.”
Hoi Kei, 21, a student in Kuala Lumpur, is a participant of the BRATs Young Journalist Programme run by The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) team. Applications for next year’s programme are now open. For details, go to facebook.com/niebrats.
Now that you have read the article, test your understanding by carrying out the following English language activities.
1. Angel has shown perseverance in working towards her dreams. What is your dream and how are you working towards it?
2.Turn to the Sport section of today’s copy of the newspaper. Look for an athlete who has qualities that you admire. What are these qualities? Share your findings with your activity partner.
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