KUCHING: The Sarawak women’s artistic gymnastics (WAG) team are looking to continue their dominance in Malaysia Games (Sukma) by capturing the overall women’s team gold for the third consecutive Sukma in Johor next year.
The state’s challenge will be shouldered by a six-member team coached by Bulgarian couple Bogomil Ivanov Momchilov and Gergana Momchilova.
They are 20-year-old Esmelda Arecia Menti Alfred Geling, 17-year-old Audrey Jude Rendih Alexander, 14-year-old Damia Dameerah Suhaimi, and 13-year-olds Annabelle Andy Intana Jantum, Nur Shahrina Azrina Mohamad Hidzam and Audi Zulkarnien.
Also included in the list is Cassandra Lavigne Shelden, 17, who helped the state win the team gold in 2016 Sarawak Sukma and Perak Sukma two years ago.
“We will be sending six girls for the WAG and one boy for the Men’s Artistic Gymnastics (MAG) events and I am pretty confident that they can produce another excellent performance in Johor Sukma from March 6 to 14 next year,” Bogomil told The Borneo Post yesterday.
“Our gymnasts had actually commenced their training last December and the training programme was interrupted by the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in March following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.
The first control test on the WAG team was done in February.
He said the artistic gymnastics team was one of the first Sukma teams to resume training on June 3 after the announcement of the Conditional MCO.
However, he noticed that some of the gymnasts had put on weight during the MCO and were limited to fitness training at home.
They train for three hours a day on weekdays and half day on Saturdays.
From July 15 onwards, gymnasts will be divided into two separate training sessions as most of them are school students attending either morning or afternoon classes.
Bogomil said the women’s team was a mixed blend of experienced gymnasts in Audrey, Esmelda and Damya and new blood in Annabelle, Shahrina and Audi.
“We are targeting to win three gold medals in the individual and team events and I am hoping that we can exceed that target by winning more gold. The gymnasts are now right on track upon returning to normal training and they are feeling upbeat and confident,” he added.
Bogomil was also confident that MAG sole representative Ally Hamuda Abdullah will put up a good fight in Johor.
Ally Hamuda is expected to compete in the rings, pommel horse and parallel bars.