PETALING JAYA: National back-up gymnast Koi Sei Yan has just made the national selectors’ job a whole lot tougher ahead of the Singapore SEA Games next year with a stellar showing at the Asean Schools Games in Marikina, the Philippines, on Friday.
Sei Yan was a head above her nearest rivals with scores of 14.933 (hoop), 14.767 (ball), 15.233 (clubs) and 13.433 (ribbon) to bag four individual golds in what can be hailed as a breakthrough performance by the 15-year-old.
She also picked up a team gold with Fatin Zakirah Jalany Zain Jalany and Shak Yuki and a bronze (52.800) in the all-around individual behind team-mate Fatin (54.033), who earned a silver.
“Going into the first day of competition, I wasn’t very confident because I was unsure about my rivals. Plus, there was only one carpet, so it was hard to get the feel, especially for my pivots. But the second day everything just clicked for me,” said Sei Yan.
“I’m very proud of myself ... how I rose to the occasion and did my country proud ... and to see the Malaysian flag being raised.
“It’s a great feeling for me, especially before the SEA Games. It’s going to be tough but, hopefully, I can keep improving and who knows ...”
There are only two spots vacant for the coming SEA Games, with seven gymnast in contention – three seniors and four soon-to-be promoted juniors.
The seniors are Glasgow Commonwealth Games silver medallist Wong Poh San, Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Amy Kwan and Fatin. The juniors are Junior Asian gold medallist Olivia Tai Qing Tong, Perlis Sukma double gold medallist Shasangari Sivaneswary Nagarajan, Sei Yan and Perlis Sukma double silver medallist Yuki.
“The team event has been scrapped for the SEA Games next year, so we will only have the all-around individual and group exercise competition. That means only two of the seven will compete in the individual event in Singapore and even the seniors are not guaranteed a spot,” said Malaysian Gymnastics Federation (MGF) vice-president and rhythmic gymnastics technical chairman Petrina Low.
“Though it (the selection) will be tough for the selectors, the sport will be better off.”