Gymnastics coach Zhu Xiaoping loses cancer fight

Gymnastics coach Zhu Xiaoping receiving kisses from her husband Lin Zhenqiu and daughter Pan Pan after getting a special award for fortitude at the Singapore Sports Awards last year.
Gymnastics coach Zhu Xiaoping receiving kisses from her husband Lin Zhenqiu and daughter Pan Pan after getting a special award for fortitude at the Singapore Sports Awards last year.ST FILE PHOTO

Gymnastics community mourns coach who battled cancer to deliver historic SEA gold

Tributes from the Singapore gymnastics fraternity poured in for former national coach Zhu Xiaoping yesterday following her death from colon cancer. She was 57.

She is survived by her husband Lin Zhenqiu, 61, and her 29-year-old daughter Lin Pan Pan.

Zhu, a Jiangxi native from Nanchang, was admitted into the Singapore General Hospital on Nov 21. With her husband by her side, she died early yesterday morning.

The wake will be at Block 403, Fernvale Lane. A Christian memorial service conducted by True Grace Presbyterian Church, where Zhu attended, will be held tonight at 8pm. She will be cremated at Mandai Crematorium tomorrow at 8.45am.

Zhu's daughter Pan Pan said of her mother: "Having her as my mother is the greatest blessing for me. She's a role model for us because she gives more than she receives."

Despite being stricken with cancer, Zhu, who is affectionately called "Zhu lao shi" (meaning teacher in Mandarin) by her charges, had coached the women's all-around rhythmic gymnastics team to win a first SEA Games gold at the 2015 event on home soil.

LIFE CHANGER

She changed my life completely when she chose to believe in the 12-year-old girl who couldn't even straighten her knees.

DAPHNE CHIA , a former charge of Zhu Xiaoping's, paying tribute to her coach in an Instagram post.

She was given a special award for fortitude at last June's Singapore Sports Awards as she battled cancer while continuing to coach the rhythmic gymnastics team.

Yesterday, one of the members of that quintet, Edlyn Ho, 18, said: "I visited her about a month ago in hospital with some of my team-mates. She was still asking about how we're doing and giving some advice on our routines.

"It's touching to know that even though she was unwell and looked tired, she was still concerned about us and kept encouraging us.

"I always remember her as a motherly coach. She even invited some of the gymnasts to her house to make dumplings together."

Daphne Chia, 20, paid tribute to Zhu in an Instagram post: "She changed my life completely when she chose to believe in the 12-year-old girl who couldn't even straighten her knees."

President of Singapore Gymnastics, Choy Kah Kin, said: "In the early days, when she first came to join us in 2006, we had only about five girls competing. But now, we have about 20 girls in the centralised training programme and about 100 girls participating in the sport.

"A lot of that growth has to do with the fact that she raised the standards."

Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin conveyed his condolences to the family in a statement: "I am saddened to learn that coach Zhu Xiaoping left us this morning. Even in sickness, she was an example in fighting hard and never giving up. She will be remembered and missed by many."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2017, with the headline 'Tributes flow for motherly Zhu Lao Shi, 57'. Print Edition | Subscribe