KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — The Wilayah Persekutuan rhythmic gymnastics squad is clearly in a class of its own when it swept all seven gold medals up for grab at the 20th Malaysia Games (Sukma).
After grabbing gold in the team all-around event and the group rope exercise event, the “WiPers” team today added five golds and four silvers to their medal collection at Gymnasium 1, National Sports Council (MSN) here. .
Today’s competition saw Valerie Ng Zi Yi emerge as the most outstanding athlete with five medals, when she grabbed an additional two golds and two silvers today.
The 14-year-old athlete gave an amazing performance to win gold in the clubs event by collecting 21,700 points, while her teammate Nur Zhafirah Wong Rudy Kurniawan (21,550) and Jasmine Low Jia Thong (20,900) from Selangor took home silver and bronze respectively.
The national team athlete also excelled in the ribbon event to emerge champion with a total score of 22.050, while her teammates Lezane Tan Li Hwe (21.600) and Jasmine Low Jia Thong (21.150) won silver and bronze.
Earlier, Lezane won the hoop individual apparatus event with her stunning performance to gain 23,200 points, which saw Valerie (21,250) and Nicole Cheng Qi Ern (20,950) from Penang taking the silver and bronze medals.
A similar script repeated itself in the ball event, with Lezane taking gold with a record of 23.200 points, while Valerie (21.900) Nicole (21.600) followed her onto the podium.
Yesterday, Valerie and Lezane together with Nur Zhafirah and Erin Chan Ern Yi helped Wilayah Persekutuan emerged champions of the team all-around event, which includes hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon.
The rhythmic gymnastics event came to a close with the WiPERs winning the gold in the group ball exercise event with 23,500 points.
The team consisting of Carol Na Yuan Qi, Hannah Aisyah Abu Hassan, Koh Kai Qin, Qistina Balqis Joo Mazlan, Tam Shi Kwan and Zara Firzanah Mohd Fazirul managed to overcome the teams from Selangor and Negri Sembilan who took silver and bronze respectively by collecting 21,200 and 19,800 points
WiPERS team manager Clarissa Lee Ching Ching said the contingent’s extraordinary achievements exceeded expectations, despite disruptions in their preparations over the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We managed to keep the status (as powerhouse in the sport), but other states are also trying to keep up with us. But no doubt, with our gymnasts’ hard work, discipline and practice, they managed to do this,” she said.
Meanwhile, the youngest gymnast in the team, Nur Zhafirah, 12, who has just qualified to compete, within Sukma’s age limit for gymnasts being set at 12-15 years, was surprised by her performance.
“I didn’t expect to be able to achieve high scores, I entered because I just wanted to try, to gain experience. I suddenly got good marks, I feel happy,” said the SK Convent (1) Bukit Nanas student. — Bernama