Year 1 NUS Electrical Engineering and NUS Economics double degree student Jerome Teo and Year 2 NUS Economics student Rachel Teo made their Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) debut by clinching three medals in two hours at the dancesport event.
The siblings took bronzes in the mixed standard waltz and mixed standard Viennese waltz, and went one better by bagging the silver for the mixed standard slow foxtrot.
The results are a culmination of years of hard work for Jerome and Rachel, who began dancing 10 years ago at the ages of 11 and 10 respectively. They initially trained in both Latin and standard dances, but decided to focus solely on the latter genre three years ago.
Having danced competitively for many years, the siblings were nominated to the Singapore National Olympic Council for SEA Games selection by the Singapore DanceSport Federation. This is only the third time that dancesport has featured at the SEA Games. The previous times were in 2005 and 2007.
“We are grateful for being selected and doubled up our training in the last couple of months, to boost our chances of winning,” said Rachel.
This entailed travelling to Europe for up to three weeks at a time, which sometimes necessitated taking time off school.
“We applied for leave with professors who were very supportive and understanding. With a clear aim for SEA Games, the decision was not difficult. Making up lost time for lessons and exams was more trying, as we had to train as well as catch up on missed lessons,” Rachel shared.
The siblings also coped by planning their time wisely.
Rachel explained, “We made a full year plan so that we are able to focus on different priorities at different points in time. This enables us to do what is important and critical for each time period. We are passionate about dancesport and achieving at a competitive level. Though tough at times and with our academics at stake, our passion and commitment to dancesport holds us through it all.”
See a video of Rachel and Jerome's silver medal-winning foxtrot dance, and see media reports about their achievement.
Read more about NUS students and alumni representing Singapore at the SEA Games.