Singapore can have one rhythmic gymnast at 2024 Games, says Panova
20 Nov 2017
AGU Media, DOHA (QAT): Nine-time rhythmic gymnastics world champion Bianka Panova exuded confidence that a Singaporean rhythmic gymnast at the 2024 Olympic Games is not all that impossible given the presence of talent at her academy in the country.
The Bulgarian co-founded the Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy in 2015 with business partner and academy director Daniela Michaely.
“Rhythmic gymnastics is a relatively young sport in Singapore. It has only been around for about seven years, and it's already one of the sports being considered for Direct School Admission. I’, amazed to see its progress over the past seven years,” Panova told The Straits Times.
The 48-year-old has also coached Italy’s national junior team and Belgium.
“Singapore has so much talent. The future of the sport is very positive, but there needs to be more support in order to hone the potential of local gymnasts,” added Panova, who became the first rhythmic gymnast to make a clean sweep of all five gold medals at a World Championships in 1987.
About 100 students aged between four and 14 are now enrolled in her academy.
“There’re so many talented girls and I see no difference between them and Bulgarian gymnasts. They’ve the potential and we needed to work within the system to build them up with more competitions and exposure,” she said. “The national sports association has extended their support to promote the sport. I think the focus on academic has expanded to sporting achievements as well.”