Gymnasts to get into the rhythm at mall gala

Gymnast Edlyn Ho is familiar with performing in front of a panel of judges and receiving a score at the end of her routine.

But instead of aiming for a medal, the national rhythmic gymnast, who was part of the quintet who won Singapore's maiden gold medal in the discipline at last year's SEA Games, will be seeking to win the attention of passers-by at a shopping centre on Saturday.

For the first time, GymFest, an annual gymnastics exhibition gala organised by Singapore Gymnastics, will be held at Star Vista at Buona Vista from 2pm to 5pm.

The 10th edition of the event was previously a ticketed event held at Toa Payoh Sports Hall.

Shoppers will be treated to a colourful and graceful spectacle showcasing 200 gymnasts by 13 teams, including one from Malaysia.

Edlyn will be part of a team of more than 20 gymnasts, some of whom are primary school pupils, to put up a chereographed performance. The 17-year-old said: "It's going to be interesting because I'll be performing with a younger group, and our performance will be more of a dance with different music and items."

While there is no pressure to get a good result, Edlyn is looking at nailing a flawless routine to entertain the crowd.

She said: "A shopping mall will have many more people watching us, so I think it'll be quite nervous because of the bigger crowd we can expect.

"We've never treated the GymFest as a competition. It's a fun way to demonstrate the sport to the public and to encourage kids to try it at a recreational level."

The public can also try out apparatus like twirling a ribbon and tossing a ball or hoop for some hands-on experience at the event.

Fellow national gymnast, Yeo Siew Lyn, a 16-year-old Singapore Sports School student, added: "I think the event attracts people from all walks of life because it is held in a shopping mall. Previously, only those who were interested in gymnastics will come to watch.

"The apparatus try-outs can attract younger ones by giving them a feel of what gymnastics is like after they watch us perform."

Patrick Ho, Singapore Gymnastics vice-president and chairman of the GymFest organising committee, said the goal is to bring the sport closer to the public.

He said: "We wanted the event to be more inclusive. It will allow everyone to have a chance to watch gymnastics action for free and to try it out as well.

"Rhythmic gymnastics is easier to pick up and perhaps it can be a place where they can start if they are keen to pursue the sport."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2016, with the headline 'Gymnasts to get into the rhythm at mall gala'. Print Edition | Subscribe