Crowned as the “World’s fastest flyer” in one of the sport’s biggest competitions, indoor skydiver Kyra Poh tells Digital Senior her exhilarating journey to the top.
1) What sparked your interest in indoor skydiving? Was there any particular event of strong significance that made you decide to try this sport?
Since young, I had the dream of being able to fly and my dream job used to be an astronaut as I thought that was the only way I could fly. Opportunely, I came across this sport by chance when my mum was helping iFly create their advertisements when they first started. iFly was looking for people to film and star in their publicity materials, thus my mum brought my partner (Yi Xuan) and I to iFly and that was how we got started. From then on, flying has been my passion.
2) How does it feel like being crowned the winner for the Freestyle Open at the Australian Indoor Skydiving Championships 2017, the second year in a row?
I felt overjoyed maintaining my title for the second time in a row, as I took part in four categories this year unlike last year where I only took part in three categories. I was extremely ecstatic to have been able to clinch four gold medals. However, I genuinely thought that the best part of the competition was seeing my sister, Vera, fly. As she is only seven years old and is already competing at the world competition, seeing her fly gave me an immense sense of satisfaction and pride! It was really a nice feeling watching the other amazing kids fly as well!
3) What are you studying at in SOTA? How do you cope between studying, going to classes and training for skydiving? Do you try to make time for family?
I take Visual Arts in SOTA and have a total of nine subjects. Honestly, now that I am already in my third year, it has been quite of a struggle handling my school work and indoor skydiving, with an additional workload of visual arts. However, my school has been trying their best to help me cope, and whenever I am away for competitions, they give me extensions for my work deadlines and the teachers made sure I could keep up. Without the school’s dedicated help and unwavering support, I probably would not have been able to cope with my workload a long time ago.
4) What can we expect more from you in the coming years? Any upcoming competitions that we should look out for?
In the following six months, I would be taking part in four competitions, including the world championships, where I would be trying to uphold my title as the junior world champion. I would also be competing in many other competitions, like the wind games in February, Flight fighters Bahrain in December and Sakura Cup in Japan!
5) Who is your role model? Who do you draw inspiration from in life?
With respect for flying, my mum would be my role model. Even though she does not know how to fly at all, she watches me fly every single time and had learnt how to coach me. Even though she is busy juggling her work, and my late grandfather’s work, she continues to be my flying manager and coach. Being my coach is not easy I must say! She showed me that even though I might have a lot to handle now, if flying is indeed my passion, I must pursue it whole-heartedly and give it all I’ve got!
I draw inspiration from my late grandfather. He taught me how to be strong. Even when he was living his last few weeks, he continued to be strong and walked to prove that he was 100 percent all right! This really taught me that if my grandfather could be that strong and determined, so could I! My grandparents are my biggest fans, so when they could not come to Spain to see me compete, I would facetime them and they would give me words of encouragement. Also, my mum would tell me to fly for my grandfather, so that’s what I’m trying to do right now.
6) What advice would you give for other young professional athletes?
I think you should find something that you are really interested in. When I was younger, I tried many sports like swimming and golf. But I was not really interested in them, thus it was hard to put all my effort into sports I did not enjoy. Therefore, I would advise young people to find something that is their true passion and go all in. Give it your best shot and aim for high goals!
7) Do you intend to further your studies after graduating from SOTA? Where at and what are you thinking of majoring in?
Frankly at this point, I am not sure at all. But I am confident that I would still be flying. I may study abroad in European countries as indoor skydiving is more recognised in those countries and it is where a lot of the other flyers are. But when the time comes to decide, I hope that indoor skydiving would already be an official sport in Singapore!