PETALING JAYA: SEA Games gold medallist Tan Fu Jie (pic) is aiming for the pinnacle of sports events – he wants a place in the Tokyo Olympics.
It is indeed no easy task in men’s artistic gymnastics, which is keenly contested around the world, but the 23-year-old knows it is now or never to achieve his dream.
To achieve his goal, the Terengganu-born athlete will be taking part in three competitions in the next two months, all part of the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Cup series.
The competitions are FIG World Cup in Melbourne, Australia (Feb 20-23), FIG Individual Apparatus World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan (March 12-15), and FIG World Cup in Doha, Qatar (March 18-21).
While other gymnasts are still finalising their schedule for 2020, Fu Jie is set on what he wants and admits that training has been going full swing since he returned from Manila last month.
“Training has never felt better. I am making good progress, and my routines are going pretty well so far. In the past, I was known for the pommel horse, but now I want to be a master in all the six apparatus (floor exercise, rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar), ” said the lanky Fu Jie.
“It will be helpful for future competitions, and also my aim for the Olympics. The three World Cup series events will see lots of world-class gymnasts.
“I am just telling myself that I have what it takes to compete against them, ” said Fu Jie.
Coaches Tan Jia En and Ng Shu Liang have been his pillars so far and, since his victory in pommel horse at the SEA Games, they have been motivating him to clinch an Olympics spot.
“Coach Tan always tells me to be calm. He said it is up to me if I want to qualify for the Olympics. He is always motivating me and fighting for me from the sidelines, but at the end of the day, it is me and the apparatus on competition day.
“In 2018, I failed to win anything. In 2019, I got a gold in the pommel horse. Now, I want to ensure that the momentum does not fade. I am clear about my goal, and that is the Olympics.”
To ensure his routines are spotless, Fu Jie has emphasised on improving his mental strength during competitions.
“My confidence is there, but when you are on the competition floor, it is a different feeling. There will be nerves, but once I get my first routine done, I will be okay.
“Physically, I feel quite good, and I am in my best shape. This year, only my best would do. And that’s the Olympics.”
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