Sea Games: Chrystal’s unique ritual lands her three golds

The Star Online, 16/12/2007

RHYTHMIC gymnast Chrystal Lim kissed all her apparatus at the start of her routines yesterday. And after having produced outstanding performances to emerge as the biggest winner, decided not to kiss goodbye to the Games – not just yet. 

The 19-year-old Chrystal won the hearts of the judges and even the Thai audience with her mesmerising displays at the National Indoor I Stadium in Korat. 

Chrystal won three of the four individual finals – rope (15.475), clubs (15.975) and ribbon (15.425) events. She took silver in the hoop event (15.525). 

With her successes yesterday, Chrystal is the third Malaysian to win four gold medals in SEA Games rhythmic gymnastics after Durratun Nashihin Rosli (2003 Hanoi) and Foong Seow Ting (2005 Manila). On Thursday, Chrystal had steered the team to the gold. 

And she also gave another reason for Malaysia to smile yesterday. Her three gold medal winning performances took Malaysia past Vietnam for second place in the overall medals standings.

Seow Ting, affected by an ankle injury, bagged three bronze medals (rope, clubs and ribbon) while debutant Jaime Lee finished third in the hoop. 

The smile was back on Chrystal after the disappointment of losing the gold in the individual all-around a day ago. 

“I have never won any individual gold in my last two SEA Games and came very close yesterday. Today, I won three gold in a day. This is awesome,” said a jubilant Chrystal. 

“I kissed my apparatus because I was bent on not letting slip any of them from my hands today. I had a firm grip on all of them and it did not give the judges an opportunity to deduct my points.” 

When asked about her retirement plan, she paused for a while and said: “No, I cannot decide now … not after I have had a great outing like this here. Yes, I want to further my studies and I will have discussions with my family before deciding on my future.” 

Her family, especially mother Chan Poh Lin, has been the pillar of strength for Chrystal. 

“My mother burned her fingers while trying to fix these glittering studs on my leotard. It has to be hot to stick them on. She spent weeks to prepare all my four attire for the Games. She has sacrificed a lot and I think, I have really made her very happy today,” said Chrystal. 

Yesterday, though, Chrystal had to bring her game to a greater height to fend off a strong challenge from Thailand’s Sridee Tharatip. 

“I did not worry about Sridee but my own performances. Winning my pet event, the ribbon, is the most memorable one. But landing a gold in the clubs, the most difficult apparatus, made it even more special,” she added. 

Sridee, who won the individual all-around amidst controversy over biased judging, took the clubs gold on 16.050 points. 

Said Malaysia’s coach Elena Kholodova: “When Chrystal won the first gold in the rope event with a good score today, I knew the judges had taken notice of our dissatisfaction over the scores yesterday. 

“I am happy that my gymnasts did not fumble even though the pressure was great on them.” 

With the conclusion of the competition yesterday, Malaysia won a total of six gold medals in gymnastics – one better than the target set by the Malaysian Gymnastics Federation (MGF). 

Malaysia won two gold medals in the artistic competition through Ooi Wei Siang and Chan Sau Wah.  

Golden kisses: Malaysia’s Chrystal Lim kissed all her apparatus before performing to ensure that they would not fall out of her hands. It must have worked as she turned on a flawless display to win three gold medals out of the four at stake in rhythmic gymnastics on the last day of the 24th SEA Games in Korat. Her three wins, coupled with the polo team’s victory in the last event of the Games, gave Malaysia 68 gold medals, surpassing their target, and second place behind hosts Thailand. — GLENN GUAN / The Star

~ by missjewelz on December 17, 2007.

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