Thursday July 12, 2012
Pint-sized Esmelda stands tall among gymnasts
SHE may be the smallest and youngest gymnast around. But at the end of the Pahang Sukma individual artistic gymnastics event yesterday, Esmelda Arecia Menti stood tall.
The pint-sized 12-year-old Esmelda of Sarawak was ecstatic after finishing in the top three in all the four apparatus.
She outshone her much older opponents, including individual all-around winner Tan Ing Yueh of Malacca and several other national gymnasts, by taking the gold medal in the vault, silvers in the parallel bar and beam and a bronze in the floor exercise.
The Kuching lass admitted that she was nervous as it was her first Sukma campaign “but the excitement of competing against my local idols got the better of me”.
“I was a bit afraid in the beginning but it was so rewarding to beat the older and bigger girls,” said Esmelda, who idolises Farah Ann Abdul Hadi and Russian Aliya Mustafina.
“My initial targets were just to win a gold, a silver and a bronze but I managed to get an additional silver medal.”
Esmelda, who picked up gymnastic when she was eight years old, said she was still trying to come to terms with her achievement after finishing fourth in the individual all-around on Tuesday.
“I won the gold medal in my favourite apparatus – the vault – and I’m so excited with my medals. I will continue to improve myself and win more medals in the next Sukma,” she said.