Singapore's first SEA Games winter sports champion, Yu Shuran, 17, retires due to illness

Singaporean Yu Shuran competed at the World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki in March last year. She went on to win gold at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.
Singaporean Yu Shuran competed at the World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki in March last year. She went on to win gold at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.PHOTO: ANTTI LEHTO

Singapore's first SEA Games winter sports champion, Yu Shuran, has retired at 17 due to medical reasons.

In an impassioned Facebook post on Wednesday, the Beijing-based teenager revealed that she had made a trip to Los Angeles in January and trained there for a week.

Upon returning to Beijing, she fell sick and had to be hospitalised, after which she was diagnosed with a neurological disorder. The treatment was effective, although she is still recovering.

Shuran wrote: "However, as my health got better, one thing did not change: I was told that I would have to give up my life as an athlete. I did get second opinions, but (they were) never what I wanted to hear."

Describing how she "did everything except to accept it", she added: "Everything I did became an opportunity to distract myself from the absolute devastation, but this type of reckless abandonment is not what competition has taught me.

"I finally had the difficult conversation with my federation, and as of now I am officially retired from competitive skating."

Shuran won gold at last year's SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, the first time winter sports was included in the biennial Games.

In March last year, she also became the first Singaporean to qualify for the World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki.

"Of course I wish, more than anything, that my competitive career did not have to end like this. Of course I wish I had more time to reach all the goals I had set," said Shuran. "But I know... that I've been so incredibly lucky to even have had a career."

The Singapore Ice Skating Association paid tribute to Shuran on its Facebook page: "We thank you, Shuran, for giving so much to Singapore figure skating.

"And we applaud your passion, strength and tenacity in promising to remain in the sport to help mentor our young skaters."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore skater Yu, 17, retires due to illness'. Print Edition | Subscribe