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Dragons score at the Gymnastics National Championships 2021

By Nick Dunn, Director of Activities and Community Operations

The vision for 2021 and beyond within the Dragons gymnastics programme is to ensure that every student at UWCSEA East has the opportunity to be part of a quality programme where they can achieve the very best they can be. Each and every student learns and develops at differing rates which requires a different learning approach. We run Recreational, Flip and Tumble, Excel and Competitive gymnastics which cater for all our students at UWCSEA. As well as providing different types of classes, we are also striving for excellence in our competitive squads, identifying students with the potential to develop into strong and well-rounded athletes.

UWCSEA East Dragons Gymnastics National Championships 2021

We have some amazing athletes that are training up to 20 hours per week and still find time to balance their difficult daily schedules. Both our Mens and Womens competitive programmes have been training extremely hard over the last 18 months since their last competition, and finally, we got to compete at the 2021 National Championships which was held between 11–14 March. I am extremely proud of our gymnastics team which coordinated, motivated and excelled in driving this great experience for our UWCSEA East students. This was our first competition in a very long time, and the gymnasts and coaches were extremely excited to get going. In this article, hear from both our coaches and student gymnasts as they talk about their experiences being part of the Dragons gymnastics programme and competing at the National Championships 2021. 

What does it mean to be part of the East Gymnastics programme?

A few messages from our senior competitive squad gymnasts.

Kristiana Giaever-Enger:

Personally, I think that being in the competitive gymnastics team for gymnastics is almost like being a part of a second family. I have made so many memories and friendships over the years that I can never forget. The competitive team has not only taught me how to manage my time but it has taught me how to work hard and have fun. The team at our school is so supportive and inclusive there is never a day at the gym that doesn't seem to cheer me up. Since I am in the competitive squad, the team has a stronger bond from all the shared goals we have – such as doing well as a team in competitions and getting new skills to progress in levels. I can't even begin to explain how thankful I am for the friends (second family) I have met these past couple of years. 

Mia Burack:

Every day I look forward to one part of my day. That part is training – the gym is a space where I feel safe and included. We have amazing coaches that do so much for us, and we all have an incredible bond with one another. We support each other through every step and I think this is why we work so well together as a team. They have put in so much work to make sure the programme is perfect and that we have an environment where we can have fun and train hard. This team has taught me not just about gymnastics but also skills for life that will be helpful. These skills include self-management, self-motivation, and confidence. In conclusion, I will forever be grateful for my opportunities given to me by this team and will continue to cherish them. 

UWCSEA East Dragons Gymnastics National Championships 2021 2

UWCSEA East was the only International School to participate in the National Championship 2021 and we stepped up to the plate. Our Dragons programme demonstrated great quality and determination across all our levels in both the Mens and Womens disciplines. We came away with All Round National Champions and some individual apparatus medals across both our MAG and WAG to show that our UWCSEA gymnasts and gymnastics programme is strong.

This was the first National Championships where non-Singaporeans were able to participate. It was a privilege to compete at such a major event and also support our National Association.

What was it like to be able to compete again? 

A few quotes from our coaches and senior gymnasts.

Senior Coach Tiffany:

To be able to take part in a competition again after over a year is exciting yet nervous, and I bet that was how most of our gymnasts felt towards the National Championships this past weekend. It was nice to see our team of gymnasts getting back into 'competition-mode' after so long, and I'm proud to see how they helped and supported each other in training and at the competition. It is motivating to see them showcasing their hard work and competing with enthusiasm and confidence, while cheering not only for their own teammates but also other competitors at the event. Although the competition had a very different atmosphere compared to past competitions due to government restrictions on COVID, I'm sure it was an invaluable experience for all of us, coaches and gymnasts alike, and a great opportunity to prepare our team for the competition season to come.

Sophia Bithos:

To me, being able to compete again provided motivation, determination and most importantly a chance to really reconnect as a team and support each other even more. It was definitely very different walking into a different gym with other unfamiliar faces and I could feel all the emotions of happiness, nerves, and excitement rising in and around the team. Overall being able to compete in Singapore Nationals was a very valuable experience which provided many emotions and feelings such as nerves and over the top excitement which I have not felt for a while in the gym or as a team and this will definitely be something I will never be able to forget. 

Owen Inkster:

Competing at Singapore Nationals was an experience like no other. Coming back for a competition after a year and a half was no easy feat. On top of that it was my first time competing in the FIG Junior category. Even though I trained hard I was still nervous and scared. When I got to Bishan for day one of my competition my stomach was in knots. It was just the Singapore national team and me. No other international schools, no familiar faces from previous competitions. But over the two days these strangers began to become my friends. They helped cheer me on and give me the motivation I needed to get through my routines and do well. It was an eye opening experience for me because all around me there were guys doing high level gymnastics. Going into the competition I was nervous and scared but coming out of the competition I was inspired, happy, and had new friends. Competing at Singapore Nationals was a great experience and I can’t wait for the Singapore Open. 

UWCSEA East Dragons Gymnastics National Championships 2021 4

I want to thank all our gymnasts, parents and caregivers for all your support throughout this difficult time. We have now shown that through hard work, dedication and perseverance we were able to hold our own and shine. 

UWCSEA East Dragons Gymnastics National Championships 2021 3

The National Championships was our first step towards our goal for 2021, which is to compete at the Singapore Open competition which will be held at the end of May, and I want to wish all our athletes well in the build-up for this next big event. 

If you wish to see the results click on this link for the top-five placements and medalists from the National Championships 2021. If you would like to see more photos please visit our East Dragons Gymnastics Facebook page.

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