Super kids in Singapore: Indoor skydiving champion Kyra Poh

October 02, 2017
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    Carolyn Teo, who runs her own advertising firm, has a different view when it comes to school and her child’s sports career.

    Her daughter, Kyra Poh (pictured), 15, is the Junior Freestyle Champion of the World, and Carolyn is willing to let her put school on hold for a few years to pursue her passion for indoor skydiving to the max.

    Kyra first tried the sport when her mother asked if she wanted to appear in a video for iFly Singapore.

    Since then, she has not looked back.

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    “I’m off the ground when I’m flying and I love the feeling of being completely free with no boundaries,” she says. “I also love that it is a combination of many sports, from the graceful movements of ice skating and gymnastics to super fast dynamic (movements) like a sprinter.”

    She has since built up an enviable track record, with five Guinness World of Records titles under her name.

    They include “Most Backward Somersaults in a Wind Tunnel in a Minute” (she completed 68), and Most Number of Passes Through a Hula Hoop by a Pair in a Wind Tunnel in a Minute”, in which she and her partner did 49.

    On top of that, the third year School of the Arts student is also a champion in the Solo Freestyle Open and Solo Speed Open categories at the 2017 Wind Games.

    She has also been winning various international indoor skydiving competitions.

    Related: Ailing grandpa inspires 14 year old Singapore girl to win indoor skydiving medals

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    Carolyn, who has another daughter, seven, thinks that people put too much emphasis on academic goals, and even more on how fast a person achieves them.

    She sees her children’s lives as a journey, and there is no need to rush because every day is an experience in itself.

    “What difference does it make if Kyra graduates with a degree when she’s 21 or at 24?,” she asks, adding that it would be a big waste if she couldn’t pursue her sport because of an examination.

    “I’m all about experience, and I think what Kyra has garnered from the sport has given her a journey that far surpasses what you would get from school.”

    She is all for her daughters taking responsibility for their lives, so Kyra decides whether or not she needs tuition or extra training programmes.

    Related: How to encourage children to try new sports

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    “This aspect of my parenting style is very much influenced by my late father, who taught me that the hardest thing to do is to give your child the freedom to make all decisions – good or bad.”

    Her tip for raising a super-achiever kid?

    “Let your child live her life, not yours,” she says. “When they love something, they always do it best without being told how to.”

    Which is exactly what Kyra is doing. Two years ago, she was picked for the David Marshall scholarship in her school and admits having difficulty juggling school, training and tuition.

    “Because of my busy schedule, I don’t have much time to rest or spend time with my friends,” says Kyra.

    “But I love flying and I know I have to make the sacrifice if I want to do this seriously while juggling school.”

    She hopes that indoor skydiving will one day be an Olympic sport and she would be able to represent Singapore.

    Even if it doesn’t happen, “I will be flying my whole life if possible, whether or not as a career, but definitely as a sport.”

    Related: Balancing school and sports: how they did it

    A version of this article first appeared in The Business Times

    (Pictures: Ivano Ho and Romsha Golos)


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