S'porean finishes 2nd in yo-yo contest

Champion of Champions Arata Imai (left) doing his tricks yesterday, with his performance recorded by Mr Thawrir Iqbal using a phone. The competition drew 161 competitors from 15 countries in the region.
Champion of Champions Arata Imai (left) doing his tricks yesterday, with his performance recorded by Mr Thawrir Iqbal using a phone. The competition drew 161 competitors from 15 countries in the region.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

A Singaporean wowed a crowd of 300 people yesterday with his yo-yo tricks, which bagged him second place in a regional yo-yo competition at Far East Square.

At one point, Mr Thawhir Iqbal was twirling two yo-yos at the same time, one in each hand.

The 20-year-old even teased the crowd with a confident smile as he took his eye off his game to look at the audience.

Mr Thawhir faced Japanese Arata Imai, 19, in the final of the Champion of Champions showdown of the Asia-Pacific Yo-Yo Championships 2018.

"I put in a lot of effort preparing for this. For the last six months, I spent up to two hours every day practising," said Mr Thawhir, who is waiting to start national service.

"I am honoured to be able to represent Singapore and make it to the final. But, apart from competing, I enjoyed making friends with those from other countries."

The competition drew 161 competitors from 15 countries in the region, including China, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore.

The three-day event, which ended yesterday, saw enthusiasts from as young as 12 years old to those aged 34 compete in five categories, including the common single-hand string and the unique offstring style.

The Champion of Champions segment involved the five categories' winners, last year's champion, and two judges' choice - two of the best-performing runners-up in their categories.

The champion of each category received prizes worth $1,000, while the Champion of Champions took home $1,500 worth of prizes.

Mr Thawhir emerged second in the double-hand string category.

The yo-yo player, who picked up the sport in 2006, dedicated his performance to his mother, who he called his "biggest fan".

Head organiser Hans Wong-Jensen, 31, said the event, now in its 14th year, took six months to plan.

It is part of the Singapore Street Festival.

Mr Wong-Jensen, treasurer of the Yo-Yo Association of Singapore, said the association currently has about 60 members aged 12 to 40.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 09, 2018, with the headline 'S'porean finishes 2nd in yo-yo contest'. Print Edition | Subscribe