AMY KWAN, 23, Student athlete
Sleeveless panelled top, Cassey gan; earrings, Bremen Wong.
At just the tender age of four, Amy Kwan was already drawn to the graceful movements of Rhythmic Gymnastics. Dedicating most of her life to the sport, she is a proud SEA Games and Commonwealth Games gold medalist with a clear vision to stretch beyond the boundaries of her dreams. One of the many things she loves about being an athlete? The rare opportunities for her to meet new people, from all over the world.
Tell us about the journey to becoming the athlete you are today?
I started rhythmic gymnastics (RG) when I was 4 years old. I followed both my sisters who were attending training in the school hall. Even at an early age, I was infatuated by the movement of the ribbons they used. It led me to start playing around and join in to stretch with the other girls whenever they have training. I got selected into the school rhythmic gymnastics team when I was 7 years old and the following year I got chosen to be in the state team, representing Selangor.
I accepted an offer letter from Majlis Sukan Negara later on when I turned 13, they invited me to join the national team. Which means I had to continue my secondary school in Bukit Jalil Sports School. I’ve spent 19 years in RG and I’m still surviving. Although there were moments that I really felt like giving up. Today, I’m a SEA Games and Commonwealth Games Gold medalist. I’m very thankful for those who helped and supported me so far.
What were some lessons your parents instilled in you at an early age, in gymnastics and in life?
No matter in life or in gymnastics, my parents always told me that all you have to do is be yourself, do what you like and enjoy it. This life is yours, do your best in what you are doing and show your best. Whenever I face difficulties, they will tell me that crying or running away will not solve the problem. Be calm and think, there’s is always solution for every problem.
what is the most empowering thing about this sport?
Rhythmic gymnastics has taught me to be more independent, self discipline, patience and resilient. It helps me to be more rational and open. I meet people of all backgrounds from all around the world when I travel and everyone is respectful and friendly. To me, sports is one of the medium to unite nations.
What do you do to prepare for competition?
I train regularly and eat relatively healthy during competition season. I’ll go for rehabilitation or physiotherapy session before training, head to recovery session right after for a massage and contrast bath to release the tightness of my muscles. Stay hydrated and last but not least, get proper sleep. Usually I will sleep up to 8 hours per night.
Rhythmic gymnastics is both a sport and a form of art. It’s art to me because with each different routine, we get to express ourselves according to the style of the songs. It carries a different set of emotions every time. The involvement of physical exertions and skills to perform is the sport side of it.
— Amy on the art of Rhythmic Gymnastics.
What woman inspires you?
In rhythmic gymnastics, Irina Tchachina, Olympic silver medalist in year 2004 from Russia has showed me the beauty of RG. Her movements, pivots and jumps from each of her routines is a pleasure to watch. She is one of the reasons why I’m an athlete today.