Emily Sin: Only 19, but already a mentor and leader

Two years ago at the Palembang SEA Games, Emily Sin was the "baby" of the duilian trio who snared the lone wushu gold for Singapore.

Two years on, her two senior team-mates Tao Yi Jun and Tay Yu Juan have already retired from competition.

So, the National University of Singapore engineering undergraduate, still only 19, has to play mentor to her younger team-mates - Fung Hui Xin, 16, Zoe Mui, 16, and Tan Yan Ni, 17.

"It's like having new chicks under my wings," she said with a laugh. "My new team-mates look to me for guidance, and so I had to be a leader for the team.

"Furthermore, I switched weapons from spear to double sword. So, it was initially tough to juggle both responsibilities and make sure we hit our targeted performance level in the routine."

The duilian routine is one of the more demanding in the sport as it requires precise choreography to make it look like an aggressive battle among the team.

Training is six times a week, as team members not only have to perfect their individual pugilistic styles, but they also have to refine their teamwork, segment by segment, to present a seamless performance under pressure.

Said Sin, who is also participating in four individual events: "It's tough preparing for so many events, but at least there's diversity in my training, and it fires up my passion for the sport."

With a youthful squad heading up to this month's Myanmar SEA Games, the Singapore Wushu Dragon and Lion Dance Federation is casting its eyes on a bigger stage - the 2015 Games at home. When Singapore last hosted the biennial Games in 1993, wushu had its best showing with seven golds, six silvers and five bronzes.

While a repeat of that rich medal harvest will be tough, the federation hopes that the young athletes would give a good account of themselves in 2015 and push the sport into bigger prominence.

Men's taiji athlete Lee Tze Yuan, the oldest of the current squad at just 23, hopes to use these Games to better prepare himself to deal with the uniqueness of his discipline.

Said the NUS business administration student: "You have to deal with both the intensity of the competition as well as staying calm when performing.

"You need to be very sure of what you're doing, and that's what I'll be aiming to refine at the Games."

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