Singapore teens top international indoor skydiving competition
Local indoor skydiving teenage duo, Team firefly, soared to the top in 2016 Bodyflight World Challenge held at Bedfordshire, England, early this month.
Kyra Poh, 13, and Yi Xuan, 14, came first in the two-way artistic routine and finished second in the two-way speed categories.
The girls - Kyra is in the School of the Arts and Yixuan is in Singapore Sports School - performed their top-secret routine to the classic James Bond 007 Theme song. They had only 10 hours to perfect this routine.
Team Firefly performing their James Bond routine which won them first place in the 2016 Bodyflight World Challenge.
As the only team representing Singapore, they beat over 100 teams from 25 countries, including USA, France, Belgium, South Africa and the UK.
Last year , they had finished third in the two-way Freefly open category and fifth in 2014 .
This is a huge accomplishment for Team Firefly who have been training hard for the past five years at iFly Singapore, the world's largest themed wind tunnel for indoor skydiving.
The World Challenge competition is in its 11th year.
In an e-mail interview with The New Paper, Team Firefly talks about the challenges they faced when preparing for the competition.
TNP: What was the biggest challenge you faced while preparing for the James Bond routine?
Kyra and Yi Xuan: It took us just over 10 hours to practise our routine. We had a shorter time because it was announced only end of February that the competition will allow music.
Yi Xuan is in boarding school, so our practice time was limited. Music makes the routine come alive. It's no longer just about how good a flyer you are, but how well choreographed your entire routine is.
This time we had renowned indoor skydiving champion Inka Tiitto from Finlandto coach us. She taught us to embrace our "women's side" and show our graceful feminine moves while surprising people with swift strong movements.
We were under the impression that we had to fly like men to compete in a "male dominated sport", but Inka changed our mind set completely.
We also had Honza Turek and Cestmir Fric, instructors from Hurricane Factory, a Czech Republic based indoor skydiving company, to train us on speed flying, and we also asked for pointers on our routine.
They helped us make our routine much tighter and our moves sleeker. So thank you to Inka, Honza and Cestmir.
TNP: Which other teams caught your eye?
Kyra and Yi Xuan: We really liked the Russians (Sky Pioneers came in second in Artistics category routine and we were absolutely amazed by their turning while being gripped by the wind.
TNP: What made you standout from other competitors?
Kyra and Yi Xuan: Our age is definitely an advantage. While it can be intimidating to compete in an open category where our competitors are twice our age or even more, we feel that because of our small size, we were able to move even more swiftly and gracefully in the wind tunnel.
TNP: What's next for Team Firefly?
Kyra and Yi Xuan: We're young and we see ourselves as still "new" in this sport. We want to learn all the different techniques and styles from the new friends and coaches we met.
In the future, we want to push ourselves to be more flexible, and also to start inventing our own moves. We hope one day we will have a "Firefly move". So watch out for that!
Watch: Team Firefly's winning performance at the 2016 Bodyflight World Challenge