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Artistic gymnast Kaeson Lim won a Bronze medal when he made his debut at the SEA Games in Hanoi in 2021. Photos: Instagram/@kaesonlim

Singapore Sportstar Spotlight: This Gymnast Is Vaulting Over Greater Heights

Imagine somersaulting through the air with ease, and then landing gracefully with nary a wobble. Breathtaking to watch, yes, but as the Mandarin saying goes: 台上一分钟,台下十年功 (tai shang yi fen zhong, tai xia shi nian gong), meaning "a minute on stage takes 10 years of training".

It takes these gymnasts (or any sportsperson, for that matter) years of blood, sweat and toil to achieve those moments of glory. And national gymnast Kaeson Lim should know - he started at the age of 8 because he thought it was "fun and cool".

Thirteen years later, at the 2021 SEA Games held in May this year in Hanoi, Vietnam, Kaeson got a taste of silverware as part of the Singapore Men's Artistic Gymnastics squad. The team won Bronze, its first medal in seven years. All this while Kaeson was still doing his duty to the country - how's that for national service!

Character bio: At the tender age of eight, many of us would have been playing catch during recess at the playground. But when Kaeson first laid eyes on his schoolmates flipping through the air at the school gymnasium, the Henry Park Primary School student was entranced.

There and then, the young kiddo convinced his father to let him switch his Co-curricular Activity (CCA) from taekwondo to gymnastics. In just four years, he made the national team after successfully passing the trials.

Today, he's helped to end a medal-drought. And our man isn't stopping there.

Achievement unlocked: First time at the SEA Games and already a medal-winner? Check. Trained while serving National Service (NS)? Check. And still managed to perform well enough to help the team clinch a medal? Check, check, check.

BTW, that trial for the national team? He was the only one out of five to make it. Woo hoo!

Serving the nation: During his national service, Corporal (NS) Kaeson was a security trooper in the Republic of Singapore Air Force's 607 Squadron in the Immediate Response Force. In an interview with PIONEER, he shared how grateful he was for the amazing support and encouragement he received from his NS mates, as well as gymnastic squad mates, saying that they would help him as much as they could and give him training tips.

"And because my seniors also went through NS before, they know my struggles and what I was going through," he added. "Because I'm away, there is a lack of manpower and I'm very thankful that they were covering my shift."

After the sweet win at the SEA Games in Hanoi, it was owadio! for Kaeson a few months later.

Level up: Keep your eyes peeled for this yan dao kia, whether he's on the floor, rings, bars, vault or pommel horse - and especially now that he can train more regularly after NS. Come on, bro - tens across the board!

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