PETALING JAYA: Thank you, Tracie Ang.
The national artistic gymnast has finally decided to take a last bow from the sport after competing for the nation for more than a decade, now that her Olympics dream is over.
National women’s artistic gymnastics coach Ng Shu Wai admitted that the 28-year-old’s retirement will be a loss as she had been a good role model by showing a positive attitude despite all the hardships she went through in her career.
“It’s sad to let her go but I’ve to accept it. Her body has taken its toll over the years of hard training. There have been old injuries too and we can’t force her to stay on, ” said Shu Wai.
“I salute her for staying this long for the sake of qualifying for the Olympic Games.”
She had hoped to compete in the Asian Championships in April to keep her Olympics hopes alive but with the cancellation of the last qualifier, Tracie has decided not to stick around until the Vietnam SEA Games.
Tracie has been representing the country as a junior since she was 12 and her most memorable outing was winning a gold medal in the balance beam at the 2019 Philippines SEA Games and a gold in the floor exercise at the World Cup in Slovenia in 2016.
“I’ve known her since she was 12 and when she made her senior debut at the 2005 Manila Games. I know the amount of hard work she had put in. Despite all the injuries, she kept coming back and showed a good attitude in training, ” said Shu Wai.
She went for her first hip surgery in 2014 after injuring her back. In 2017, she went through another hip surgery and had to skip the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
In 2018, she underwent a surgery to insert four titanium screws into her hand following a fracture.
“That’s why I was very happy when she won her first SEA Games individual gold in Manila in 2019... that’s really what she wanted. To achieve that after all the injuries is remarkable, ” he said.
“She is a good role mode for our junior gymnasts. We as a team appreciate all her contributions and wish her all the best in her life after sport.”
The absence of an experienced gymnast like Tracie will weaken the team but Shu Wai looked at it positively.
Shu Wai and Russian coach Natalia Sinkova are now left with Olympian Farah Ann Hadi, Tan Ing Yueh, Rachel Yeoh Li Wen, Nur Azira Aziri, Geanie Ng and Zarith Imaan Khalid.
“Of course, it’s a big loss to our team because she is an all-round athlete and one of the most experienced in the squad, ” he said.
“It will affect our preparation for the SEA Games but without her, I will be able to give others an opportunity.
“We still have Geanie and Imaan to cover for her.
“They are young but probably, next year, will be the right time to push them to the fore, ” added Shu Wai, who will first focus on getting the 27-year-old Farah ready for the Tokyo Games.