Yik Siang and Nurul emerge as big winners


BY RAJES PAUL

HIGH FLYER: Nurrl Fatiha Abdul Hamid in action during the women's uneven bar event at the national championships on Sunday. She won the event with an 8.025 total. - STARpic by S.S. Kanesan

KUALA LUMPUR: National artistic gymnasts Loke Yik Siang and Nurul Fatiha Abdul Hamid defied the odds to emerge as the biggest winners on the final day of the national championships at the Putra Stadium training hall here yesterday. 

Yik Siang, who aggravated an ankle injury two weeks ago, endured the pain to win three of the six individual medals in the men’s competition. 

The 22-year-old Yik Siang won the high bar, parallel bar and vault events. He took the silver medal in the floor exercise and rings and won the bronze in the pommel horse. 

He hoped that his performances would earn him a place in the team for the World Championships, which will be held in the United States from Aug 16-24. 

“I have been troubled by the ankle injury for a long time but two weeks ago it became worse when I landed awkwardly during training,” said Yik Siang, who won the individual all-around title on Saturday. 

“I cannot afford to skip the national meet because selection for international championships is based on performances here. I felt pain while executing my routines but I just told myself to bear with it. Hopefully, I will get a place in the team for the World Championships.” 

Three other gymnasts also hope to join Ng Shu Wai in the team for the world meet. They are Heng Wah Mai, Ooi Wei Siang and Ng Shu Mun, who won a gold medal each in the national championships. 

Wah Mai came out tops in the rings while Wei Siang and Shu Mun won the pommel horse and floor exercise events respectively. 

Only Shu Wai, who is training in China, has been exempted from taking part in the national championships. 

In the women’s competition, Nurul bounced back with stronger performances yesterday to win the gold medals in the floor exercise and uneven bar. 

The 17-year-old Nurul, who was injured in a fall during training three weeks ago, was jubilant over her success. 

“I thought the injury would put me out of this competition. I fell while working on the balance beam and suffered a cut on the forehead, which required two stitches. I had to take a break for more than a week,” said Nurul. 

“I performed badly yesterday (individual all-around). I am glad I gave a better showing today despite having a slight throbbing pain on my head. I am also down with a cold. 

“I hope my performances today will earn me a place in the team for the World Championships.” 

Chang Zhi Wei and Yap Yee Yin won a gold medal each in the balance beam and vault events respectively. It was the second gold medal for Zhi Wei, who won the individual all-around title on Saturday.  

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