OLYMPIC-bound artistic gymnast Jeremiah Loo Phay Xing vows to give his best shot in Tokyo next month after having recovered fully from his shoulder injury.
Sharing his challenges, the 24-year-old Penangite, who will be making his debut in the Olympic Games, said the injury that he suffered two years ago was a painful experience.
“It was really annoying when I injured myself. I could not undergo any strenuous training and I needed a long time to fully recover.
“And also, I could not be at my very best when I had injuries. If possible, I will try to avoid it so that I can compete with peace.
“I am fortunate that I have fully recovered from my previous injury and I will strive to make my country and state proud in Tokyo Olympics,” he said during a virtual interaction session with the media yesterday.
Besides overcoming a string of injuries, Jeremiah said it was difficult for him to juggle his academic and sports career.
“I took up gymnastics at the age of seven and I have been training consistently for the past 17 years. I need to have a balance between my studies and sports back then.
“Its not an easy task, but my determination has helped me to pass through.
“Besides that, the lockdown period since last year has changed my training sessions. I am now involved in bubble training due to the pandemic.
“I train for a few hours in a day and about six days a week. There are a few sessions, which include physical training, stimulation, building up strength and recovery.
“All these trainings are important for me and I would like to thank all my coaches for guiding me,” said the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games gold medallist.
Jeremiah is now based in Bukit Jalil Sports School before flying off to Tokyo next month.
The Olympics Games in Tokyo, which was postponed from last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will start on July 23.
Jeremiah, in a way, has to thank his lucky stars for qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.
The Asian championships in May this year was supposed to determine the final qualifiers but hosts China had to cancel it due to the pandemic.
So, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) took the results of the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, into consideration for qualification.
Jeremiah had two falls during the world competition in Stuttgart and was ranked 87. But fortunately for him, he was one of the two Asian representatives selected together with a Vietnamese gymnast for the Tokyo Olympics based on a quota system.
There are other top gymnasts from Asia who qualified automatically.
If there is one gymnast who gives Jeremiah a lot of inspiration to pursue his Olympic dream, he was quick to credit former national gymnast Ng Shu Wai.
He recalled that the former gymnast, who had qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was his idol.
“He used to motivate me when I was younger.
“Since then, I have trained in China and have been inspired by many of the world’s best gymnasts over there as well,” he said.
To him, China’s gymnast Xiao Qin was the cream of the crop. He won the men’s pommel horse gold in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, thrilling the crowed with his perfect double-leg circle execution.
Family influence too play a big part in Jeremiah’s sports career as his two elder siblings – Jeremy and Jerelyn – and father Loo Keh Hoon were gymnasts themselves while mother Shirley Lee has always been the encourager.
“My brother and sister were on the gymnastic training team when we were small. I followed them to their training sessions and was later invited by the coach to join in for fun.
“That’s how I was attracted to the sport,” he said.
State Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee, who also joined in the virtual session, was pleased with Jeremiah’s success and hoped other junior athletes would emulate him.
“He is an exemplary role model for everyone of us. I wish him all the best and hope to see his success in the Olympic Games.
“His perseverance, patience and determination have brought him to the biggest sporting event in the world next month.
“I would also like to express my gratitude to Jeremiah’s parents for motivating him during all these years.
“The sacrifices of his parents are worthy as Jeremiah has achieved a remarkable feat by qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics,” he said.
Penang State Sports Council (PSSC) director Harry Chai called upon everyone to cheer for Jeremiah.
“You are already an Olympian now. Do your best and don’t stress out,” he offered a word of advice to Jeremiah.
Malaysian Gymnastics Federation (MGF) president Datuk Tan Gin Soon also gave his words of encouragement to Jeremiah.
“You have already make us proud and everyone of us here will be hoping for your success in your Olympic debut. Keep it up and good luck!” he said.
Penang State Sports Council (MSNPP) gymnastics coach Foong Kok Seng was proud with Jeremiah’s achievement.
“Believe in yourself and enjoy the competition,” said Foong, who was one of the Jeremiah’s coaches back then.
Jeremiah’s parents also attended the virtual session.
His mother thanked Soon, MSNPP and all the coaches for their guidance provided to his son.
Story by Edmund Lee
Pix courtesy of YB Soon’s office