As a six-year-old, Edie Tan Jingni was mesmerised by rhythmic gymnastics when she saw her cousin practising her routines.
When the opportunity came, she herself gave it a try – and was hooked.
A year later, Tan, who studied in SJK (C) Subang in Shah Alam, Selangor, took up the sport. She was in the school’s gymnastic club and team from Year One to Year Four, after which she transferred to Sri KDU Primary School in Kota Damansara, Selangor.
From then onwards, her parents enrolled her into Total Gymnastique, a recreational and competitive gymnastic centre in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. She goes for training four times a week, for three to five hours each time.
To-date, Tan, now 12, from Selangor, has won over 40 medals in gymnastics competitions both locally and abroad (Taiwan and Thailand). She is dedicated to improving herself in rhythmic gymnastics, and competes in gymnastics competitions whenever she can.
Rhythmic gymnastics combines elements of ballet, gymnastics, dance and apparatus manipulation. The gymnast has to manipulate one or two pieces of apparatus – rope, hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon – or demonstrate her dexterity freehand (without apparatus).
When she first got involved in rhythmic gymnastics, she said: “I enjoyed the ball routine and had fun. I am also excited by the patterns and the colours of the ribbon.”
Next month, she will be taking part in the 2nd Vitrigo International Cup 2018 (July 10-16) in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, which is organised by FMG Gymnastics Club, a non-profit and non-governmental gymnastics organisation under the Sports Commission of Malaysia. In August, she will represent her gym centre, Total Gymnastique, for the 1st Asia Pacific Rhythmic Gymnastics International Tournament (Aug 9-13) in Hong Kong.
Beside this sport, she also loves swimming and cycling.
She goes for swimming classes in school and at a nearby golf club once a month.
Sometimes, Tan loves cycling with her older siblings Cheryl, 21, and brother Sean, 24, in the house compound or nearby park. Tan also enjoys baking and cooking.
In sports, injuries are quite the norm. She said: “When I was nine, I had a sprained ankle. However, I suffer from muscle pain from time to time. The longest time I was out of action was due to an ankle injury, about two weeks.”
But this junior level gymnast plans to go on training and competing in rhythmic gymnastics until the senior level. (A gymnast who is 16 years old and above and who has completed Grade 5 in rhythmic gymnastics is categorised under the senior level.)
Last year, Tan joined the Malaysian Aesthetic Group Gymnastics Association (Magga) and in May last year, her team won gold at the Total Gym International Tournament in Cyberjaya. Gymnastics teams from 13 countries, including Malaysia, took part in the event.
Tan said: “I love rhythmic gymnastics because I’m impressed with what I can do. Moreover, my coach told me that I have the potential to go further and be a better gymnast.”