Asean Schools Games: Hard work pays off for two-gold gymnast Chloe Neo

Chloe Neo, an RGS Sec 2 student, won the uneven bars at the Bukit Jalil NSC Gymnastics Hall on July 23, 2018 to add to the gold she won as part of Singapore's artistic gymnastics team a day earlier.
Chloe Neo, an RGS Sec 2 student, won the uneven bars at the Bukit Jalil NSC Gymnastics Hall on July 23, 2018 to add to the gold she won as part of Singapore's artistic gymnastics team a day earlier.PHOTO: MOE

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - In her pursuit of perfection, teenage gymnast Chloe Neo increased her training load from 25 hours to more than 30 hours a week to prepare for the 2018 Asean Schools Games (ASG).

Her dedication to her craft reaped dividends when the 14-year-old became Singapore's first multiple gold medallist at the meet on Monday (July 23).

The Raffles Girls' School Secondary 2 student scored a 10.433 in the girls' individual apparatus uneven bars final at the Bukit Jalil NSC Gymnastics Hall to clinch the gold and add to the one she won as part of Singapore's artistic gymnastics team on Sunday.

"I am quite proud of myself because this is my first ASG and I managed to show my skills fully on the bars today like how I do in training," said Chloe.

"I'm not the type of person who is most natural at picking up the skills very fast. But I put in a lot of effort for this ASG and I'm very happy I managed to do well."

Team-mate Emma Yap (10.333) finished runner-up in the uneven bars and Nydia Heng (11.367) added another silver in the balance beam.

This year is the third time in a row the girls' team have struck gold at the annual ASG, which is into its 10th year.

The boys got a bronze in the horizontal bar through Jibreel Khaleel Hussein (12.2).

Said Chloe: "I'm very thankful for all the support from my team-mates, parents, coaches and teachers. During training when everyone is very tired, we still cheer each other on and, although I'm happy about (winning two golds), it was still a team effort and everyone did very well to make this possible."

Swimmer Mikkel Lee also won his second gold of the Games, teaming up with Gabriel Foo, Joshua Yeo and Luke Tan to win the 4x100m freestyle relay in 3min 30.60sec as anchor swimmer Luke just held off a late charge from runners-up Thailand who finished 0.35sec back.

Mikkel's 100m split time of 50.51 bettered the 50.72 personal best time he set on Sunday en route to winning the 100m freestyle gold.

"Overall it was a pretty good swim, but I'll go back to watch the video and see how I can improve. We won last year as well and it's something that we should keep going," said the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) Year 4 student.

Paddler Koen Pang completed the trio of athletes to win second gold medals on Monday, partnering 13-year-old Zhou Jingyi to win the mixed doubles title. The 16-year-old won his first on Sunday, as part of the boys' table tennis team that beat Thailand 3-2.

After the third day of competition, Singapore's medal tally stands at seven golds, eight silvers and 11 bronzes. The Games conclude on Thursday.