Wee to become 1st full-time wushu athlete

Wee to become 1st full-time wushu athlete
Singapore's gold medal-winning wushu duilian duo Valerie Wee (right) and Vera Tan arriving home to a warm welcome at Changi Airport. Wee, a taiji specialist, wants to shine at the 2015 SEA Games on home soil.

She may have won a gold medal at the SEA Games in Myanmar, but Valerie Wee is hungry for more.

To that end, the 24-year-old, who finished first in the duilian (unarmed) event alongside partner Vera Tan, is set to become Singapore's first full-time wushu exponent.

The Straits Times understands that she will be offered a two-year contract by the Singapore Wushu Dragon and Lion Dance Federation, to train full-time in China.

The deal comes under the federation's Adopt An Athlete scheme, which was started in May, and is open to interested and deserving exponents. It will cover Wee's training costs, daily expenses, airfare, as well as a monthly allowance for the Curtin University commerce graduate.

The taiji specialist will most likely train in Fujian, home to current women's taijiquan world champion Zhuang Yingying.

Singapore Wushu Dragon and Lion Dance Federation CEO Sng Chan Kiah said: "We had a successful fund-raiser in May, which gave us a chance to fund athletes who want to train full-time."

Mr Liang Eng Hwa, president of the federation and an MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, added: "Valerie has a lot of potential and has been performing at a high level consistently. We hope to develop her skills further, in the hope that she can do well in future meets.

"The move also allows us to send her for more competitions, as she won't be tied down by work commitments."

Next year's Asian Games, Asian Wushu Championships, and the 2015 SEA Games are the competitions on the calendar.

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