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ROAD TO LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC - GYMNAST LIM HEEM WEI


A new page of history has been opened in Singapore’s quest to the Olympic. Leaving her mark in history is 22 year-old gymnast Lim Heem Wei who is the first Singaporean gymnast to qualify for the Olympic games.
The 15 year gymnastics veteran triumphed against all the odds and clinched one of the 37 spots available for grabs at the Olympics games test event held in London.
Heem Wei, who will be 23 by the time the July 27-Aug 12 Games come round, will compete in the women's individual all-around event.
The Play Times caught up with the busy gymnast to see what she is up to since her return:
Q: Congratulations on qualifying for the Olympic games, how do you after hearing the news?
A: I didn’t know I qualified until I touched down in Singapore and switched on my hand phone. A lot of messages came in and I was wondering where they got their source.
At first I thought there may be a mistake somewhere but there were so many people texting me so the idea started to sank in.
When I stepped out of the arrival gate, my father and other friends were there to receive and congratulate me as well.
I feel really honored and privileged to be able to represent Singapore and I am really happy to have come so far.

Q: What was going through your mind during the test games? Were you confident in qualifying?
A: I was really focused on my technical execution and trying my best to nail my routine.
I thought that my chances were 50/50 as it was a matter of ranking between all the participants and it all depended on how well I do and also how well the others are doing.

Q: What changed in your life after the news of your qualification broke?
A: I have been super busy and am overwhelmed by all the attention. There were so many messages and calls and I only had time to respond to some of them.
After I returned from London I resumed training for a week but had to take a few days break as it was a little overwhelming and I had many things to settle. School just reopened so there were administrative matters and there are all the interviews as well.
I have since returned to training.

Q: What are the plans leading up to the Olympic games? Anything changed with regards to your training?
A: Things have not changed much and training is pretty much the same before and after the games. I’ve been discussing with my coaches on what competitions I should attend leading up to the games and how to plan my time around my school timing.

Q: What do you think your experience will be like at the games?
A: I think that it will be a once in a life time experience. I am trying to imagine my experience there and how the other athletes will be curious about where we are from as Singapore is not a country with a huge representation at the Olympics.
It will definitely be a unique experience and I will have the chance to get to know the athletes from other nations. Even though I’ve competed against some of them before, I’ve not really got to know them.

Q: You shared with us what is think is the Singapore Spirit before the SEA Games last year (click here to find out), do you the spirit is what pushed you to where you are now?
A: The Singapore spirit definitely had an impact. I grew up here and have the Singapore spirit and culture in me and it is this me that has gotten me to where I am today.

Q: You are a business student at the National University of Singapore. What are your plans beyond competing as a gymnast?
A: I’ve not really thought about it, but I have a strong feel for judging. Being in this sport for so long, it would be a shame if I let all the knowledge go to waste. It will be awesome if I can be an international judge some day.
I may want to take up coaching some day, but it is something very different from training.

Q: If you are not a gymnast, what do you think you will be doing now?
A: I would very much want to lead a normal student life and experience what the others are doing, like going out after school and going home on time for dinner. Those are the things that I have not been able to do.