SEA Games: Teo siblings waltz to historic dancesport medal before bagging hat-trick

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN) - Dancesport made its SEA Games debut in the Philippines in 2005, but was discontinued after the 2007 edition. 

 In just two hours, siblings Jerome and Rachel Teo did not just waltz into the history books as the first Singaporean medallists at a SEA Games dancesport event, they also mounted the podium three times at the Royce Hotel in Clark on Sunday (Dec 1).

Their first medal was a bronze in the standard waltz, in which they finished behind the Philippines' Mark Jayson Gayon and Mary Joy Renigen and Vietnam's Vu Hoang Anh Minh and Nguyen Troung Xuan.

Less than an hour later, they pocketed another bronze in the standard Viennese waltz behind the hosts' Sean Mischa Aranar and Ana Leonila Manalo Nualla and Vietnamese Nguyen Duc Hoa and Nguyen Thi Hai Yen.

Minutes later, they were back on the dance floor and went one better in the standard slow foxtrot, taking silver and finishing just 0.054 points behind Gayon and Renigen.

Rachel, a 20-year-old Year 2 economics student, said: "The first bronze pushed us to get more. Every medal means a lot and that first one spurred me on to push harder to get a better placing.

"Eventually, in our third event, we got a silver. I'm so very proud of the team. We have lots of thanks for our family for sponsoring of overseas trips, coaches, teachers and friends for their support."

To prepare for these Games, the siblings had to take time off school for numerous trips to train in Europe, two to three weeks at a time.

Jerome, a 21-year-old who is in his first year of pursuing a double degree in electrical engineering and economics, said: "It is a very touching journey for us and it's really beautiful we can do everyone proud.

"We were not expecting much but, of course, we wanted to win a medal. These medals are not for us, but for everyone who supported us through this journey and believed in us.

"We have been trying our best, pushing our limits just so we can make Singapore proud. We are really ecstatic, so excited and grateful to have three medals in all three events we competed in."

Singapore's dancesport medal rush continued in the afternoon, where Jeremy Sim picked up a bronze in the men's individual breaking event, while Gary Tsan and Shannen Tan also won a bronze in the Latin American paso doble.

Dancesport made its SEA Games debut in the Philippines in 2005, but was discontinued after the 2007 edition. Singapore won medals in five of the 13 events this year.

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