Gymnastic feat named after Terry Tay

SINGAPORE - Local gymnast Terry Tay has joined an exclusive club that includes some of the sport's greats such as Li Ning and Kurt Thomas, following a move that was named after him on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old earned the certification from the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), the sport's governing body, after successfully performing it on Monday at the ongoing World Championships in Belgium.

He is believed to be the first male artistic gymnast from South-east Asia to accomplish that feat.

Performed on the still rings, the "Tay" - the name awarded by the FIG - has a high difficulty level of E (increases from A to F) and a description which those unacquainted with gymnastics would find hard to comprehend.

Its creator, however, needs just one word to describe it.

"Power," said the Year 3 Nanyang Polytechnic student, referring to how much strength the move demands of a gymnast.

"It involves precise technical execution, great amount of strength and grace."

Original elements are named after gymnasts when an athlete becomes the first to successfully execute them at either the world championships or Olympics.

The "Li Ning" on the still rings and the "Thomas Flair" on the pommel horse, for example, are some of the sport's more fabled moves.

But while others might have spent months creating and perfecting a new skill, Tay's was an impromptu creation the Singapore team came up with only after arriving in Antwerp, where the meet is held.

Said Tay: "Our team's judge Gan Chai San suggested that I do it when we noticed some gymnasts trying new skills with the V-cross. This new skill is the hardest I've tried in a competition. I'm really proud not just for myself but also for Singapore."

Singapore Gymnastics vice-president Lee Hong Chuang hopes this will spur more local gymnasts in their pursuit of excellence. He said: "Besides training hard, they can also be innovative and look into ways to improve and capitalise on their strengths."

While he finished 128th out of 136 gymnasts on the rings with 11.333 points, Tay admits that having a new move in his name is something special altogether.

He said: "I didn't expect this at all when I left for Belgium.

"This is something that will be in the FIG code of points for generations to come."

maychen@sph.com.sg


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