Identical dreams for rhythmic gymnastics twins
The New Paper continues the countdown to the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur with a look at the family connections in various sports. Today, we feature the LAU SISTERS in rhythmic gymnastics
Born just a minute apart, they spend most of their time together, in school, during training and in their down time.
Even their mobile phone numbers differ by only one number.
Twins and rhythmic gymnasts Michele and Phebe Lau are also almost inseparable when it comes to competitions - they have travelled together for all but two overseas competitions since they were 10.
"We have travelled together for almost all our overseas competitions, except for two times when I was injured," said Phebe, the younger sibling.
In 10 days' time, the sisters will take on their greatest adventure yet, when they compete in the biennial SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.
The duo will take part in the group (mixed apparatus) and group (single apparatus) events, while Phebe will also compete in the hoop, ball, clubs, ribbon, individual all-around and team event.
The pressure of stepping up to the senior level and coping with the public interest the SEA Games attract, was already evident on the pair's faces when The New Paper spoke to them.
Phebe said: "I think there will be a lot more people in Malaysia watching us, and stage fright is something that we will get over."
But the sisters - who have two younger siblings - are glad to share this experience together, both the good and bad aspects of it.
Aug 26-28 (rhythmic gymnastics)
MITEC Hall 9 & 10
Edlyn Ho, Jael Chew, Michele Lau, Phebe Lau, Avryl Tan, Tong Kah Mun, Yeo Siew Lyn Lyn
PERFORMANCE AT THE 2015 SEA GAMES
Michele said: "It is more comforting to be able to share this SEA Games experience with my sister because we have been doing everything together since we were young.
"It is always nice to have someone you are very close to doing something major, like the SEA Games, together.
"And even though you may be stressed, you can share your burden with your sibling."
Michele picked up gymnastics first at seven years old, in Marymount Convent School, when some pupils in her class were selected by the teacher-in-charge to try out for the sport.
She recalled: "It was very fun and very cool to play with the various apparatuses."
Phebe wasn't selected to try out, but would ask her elder sister about gymnastics at home, and the latter would teach her the basics.
Phebe started formal training the next year, with both siblings eventually stopping school training to begin "more serious" training with Singapore Gymnastics.
Both athletes are now studying at the Singapore Sports School, but have stopped their lessons since June - the school has suspended lessons for its SEA Games-bound athletes until after the Games - and they have been spending almost all their waking hours training at the OCBC Arena, with Sunday their only day-off.
Asked about their hopes and aspirations for the Games, Phebe said: "A medal is important but the most important thing is completing the routine cleanly, no drops or mistakes.
"Just give it your all."