Despite her age, the odds are not stacked against her

Shaina Nero Ruiz doing the Cycle sequence; Winnie Hiew & Edison Chew doing a doubles Cycle sequence.ST VIDEO: ALEXIS ONG

Shaina Nero Ruiz looks like any other nine-year-old - bright-eyed and unable to sit still for long.

But she has something that most of her peers do not: Shaina is a sport stacking world divisional record holder.

The Park View Primary School pupil completed a 3-6-3 sequence in 2.513 seconds during a competition in Singapore in February this year, setting the world record for the Girls 7-8 year-old Individual 3-6-3 event, which was sanctioned by the World Sport Stacking Association (WSSA).

Shaina, who is from the Philippines, first learnt about sport stacking, also known as cup stacking, from a YouTube video about two years ago.

She became interested and started practising with disposable plastic cups every day for about an hour.

When asked why she enjoys the sport, Shaina said: "Because I'm the fastest in my class. And I have a world record."

Her mother, IT operator Myrna Ruiz, eventually bought a set of professional cups for her.

"She would stack everywhere. When we visit the Philippines, she'll stack at the airport," said Mrs Ruiz.

The sport has also helped Shaina grow up, in her mother's opinion. "She made new friends, here and in other countries. She can make conversation, even though she's still young," said Mrs Ruiz.

Shaina also persuaded her mother to join her in stacking, and they participated in the child/parent doubles event at a WSSA competition in March last year. Despite the fact that it was their first time competing together, the duo came in first runner-up.

"It's nice that parents can learn from their children, too," said Mrs Ruiz.

For Shaina, she hopes to beat the overall world record holder, William Orrell, 17, from the United States, one day.

Meanwhile, she is focused on spreading the stacking fever to the rest of her class.

"Half my class stacks now. They think it's amazing," said Shaina.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2016, with the headline 'Despite her age, the odds are not stacked against her'. Print Edition | Subscribe