25 April, 2018

We need to develop more Singaporean coaches, says Norden

Jakarta, Indonesia: Singapore may not be a force to reckon with, but Singapore Gymnastics (SG) are putting in a lot of effort to develop the sport and with the aim of winning an Olympic medal in 2028.

“It’s a transitional phase. The gymnasts are very young and we’ve just started to focus on the grass-root level,” SG General Manager Karen Norden told www.agu-gymnastics.com

Singapore have come here with four MAG and five WAG gymnasts for the 15th Junior Artistic Asian Championships, which starts on Wednesday at the Istora Senayan Indoor Stadium.

“We don’t expect medals from the competition. We’ve a young team. It will be a learning curve for the boys. As for the girls, we’ve two talented gymnasts who would be testing the waters. The tournament is an opportunity for them to build confidence and gain experience,” she added.

Norden said that as most Singaporean parents are more focussed on their child’s studies, it becomes a tad difficult to push them to the gymnasiums.

“Studies are a priority in most families and they want their children to pursue higher education. Gymnastics is not very popular, but we’re trying hard to develop it,” said Norden, who joined SG June, 2017, following a revamp which also saw Singapore’s first Olympic gymnast Lim Heem Wei on the board.

Competing against the powerhouses in the championships is what will give the Singaporeans the experience and, that’s what Norden is looking at.

“We can’t match the Chinese or Japanese and we can only focus on learning from the best,” she added.

Norden, who had previous stints at Gymnastics Australia as Senior Manager Participation & Sports Development and also in other roles, exuded confidence that the future is bright for the sport in Singapore.

“The future is very promising. The government is very supportive and SG has an excellent board. If we develop Singaporean coaches, I don’t see why we can’t compete with the best. Our gymnasts are talented just any other athletes in the world,” added the Aussie, who is tasked with overseeing the development and growth of gymnastics in Singapore.