NANJING - Body bent over with her hands on her knees, then with a gentle shrug of her shoulders, gymnast Nadine Joy Nathan struggled to explain her performance yesterday at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG).
She posted a score of 46.300 to finish last in the 18-strong women's artistic gymnastics all-around final.
Russia's Seda Tutkhalyan took gold with 54.900, Flavia Lopes Saraiva of Brazil was second (54.700) and Britain's Elissa Downie got bronze (54.150).
With the exception of the vault, Nadine's scores over each of the apparatuses yesterday were lower than the high 49.325 she posted in the qualification round on Monday to make the final.
She started with a tumble on her landing on the uneven bars and, while she did not fall off the balance beam, wobbles cost her precious points.
Even on the floor exercise, where she is usually most comfortable, she found herself landing flat on her bum on the home stretch.
Having competed in the qualification rounds in one of three groups and seeing some of her fellow competitors in action only yesterday, nerves got the better of her. She was overawed by the sheer quality of the field.
Said a clearly disappointed Nadine who turns 15 in December: "I hadn't seen the others compete until today and I was feeling more nervous."
It meant shaking more than usual during the long wait in between her routines.
Still, she can take heart from the fact that she had already exceeded her own expectations by making the final, where only three other Asian countries (China, Japan, the Philippines) qualified.
Taking into consideration the field at the YOG, it is also one of the highest-level meets that a local gymnast has competed in.
Said the Raffles Girls' School student: "I've learnt a lot about competitions from this because I've never had the chance to compete in world-level events like this.
"The whole experience was very different from previous competitions that I've been to."
While Nadine struggled with her form, sailor Bernie Chin, 15, found his second wind after a disastrous start to his campaign, in which he finished 21st in his first race and did not finish his second.
But stellar performances over his next five races over the past two days - he was first, fifth and third in yesterday's races - have placed him on top of the 30-strong men's Byte CII fleet.
Samantha Yom, 15, is also in medal contention and is second after seven races in the women's Byte CII. She posted two second-place finishes and an 11th- place finish yesterday.
The sailors are scheduled to compete over 11 races.
This article was first published on August 21, 2014.
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