PETALING JAYA: Ten years ago, Koi Sie Yan didnâ€™t even think about picking up gymnastics. Now, she is about to make her debut on the big stage at the Singapore SEA Games.
The 16-year-old rhythmic gymnast picked up the sport by chance, when she followed her sister for gym training.
â€œI was about six. My mum sent my sister for gym training and I was just playing around. But I was too noisy! So the coach got me to sit down and do some stretching and then it just became a routine whenever my mum takes me to the gym,â€ she said.
Her pathway to Singapore was a difficult one, often times in the shadow of her more prominent team-mates like Wong Poh San and Olivia Tai Qing Tong.
But last December, Sie Yan announced her arrival as a serious contender for the Games when she clinched five golds and one bronze at the ASEAN Schools Games in the Philippines.
And with 2014 Commonwealth silver medallist Poh San and Olivia ruled out of the SEA Games through injury, the doors opened up for Sie Yan to claim her place for the Games.
â€œItâ€™s unexpected, but definitely something that I was targeting since last year. I wanted to show them that I was ready, so to get my chance in Singapore is great,â€ said Sie Yan who will vie for the individual all-around title with teammate N. Shasangari Sivaneswary.
Sie Yanâ€™s progress in the lead up to the Games has been encouraging.
In February, at the Kalamata Cup in Greece she picked up two silvers in the hoop and all-around individual and a bronze in the ball and ribbon events.
â€œDuring the Kalamata Cup, I never expected to get the silver in the senior category for the individual all-around. That really gave me a huge confidence boost. Now, Iâ€™m ready to do my best for my country,â€ said Sie Yan from her training camp in Tashkent, Uzbekistan where she has been for the last two weeks.-The Star