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Bulgarian Nine-time World Champion Helps Singapore Achieve Success in Rhythmic Gymnastics

New EU-Singapore trade agreement ensures that European sports and recreational groups can offer their services in Singapore.

"In Bulgaria, we grow up with the culture of rhythmic gymnastics. It really combines sports and art in a unique way", says Daniela Michaely, Founder and Director of the Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy."

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When moving to Singapore a few years ago, Daniela Michaely saw great potential to develop the gymnastics scene in the city-state. She teamed up with former world champion Bianka Panova, and the two Bulgarian ladies established a gymnastics studio. The goal is to develop young talents into world class gymnasts and choreographers.

The academy offers classes for all levels; from 4-year old beginners to advanced and elite levels. It currently has around 100 pupils enrolled with 80 other kids on the waiting list.

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Setting up a studio in Singapore involved some challenges as rhythmic gymnastics is a relatively new discipline in the country.

However, on the back of Bianka Panova's outstanding achievements as a rhythmic gymnast with multiple medals from World Championships in the 1980s, as well as a former coach of the national teams of Italy and Belgium, the academy has contributed to the growing popularity of the sport in Singapore.

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Bianka Panova and the team are looking to develop the academy into a centre of excellence. The objective is to position Singapore as a world- class hub where fans will be able to enjoy high-level international events.

Rhythmic gymnasts work with several apparatus. These include clubs, balls, hoop, rope and ribbon. As the sport requires an amalgamation of muscle strength, dance, jumps and pirouettes as well as mental focus, the upcoming events in Singapore promise breath-taking performances for the audience to enjoy.

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How the EU-Singapore FTA can help

Making life easier for sports and recreational establishments.

  • Market access: opportunities for Euro-pean companies in the services sector, including sports and recreational ones, to provide services in Singapore and establish commercial presence.

With a comprehensive coverage and modern approach, the upcoming EU-Singapore trade agreement will solidify the open business environment in Singapore.

For example, companies offering various sports and recreational services will be able to set up sports centres and run their businesses in Singapore. Sports, leisure and well-being entrepreneurs will thus be able to bring new ideas to life in Singapore.

"Singapore is a hub with great organisation and facilities. There is also a changing of mind-set in process: from a strong focus on academics to higher valuation of sports. Our experts can contribute to create something with the young gen-eration that Singapore will admire as the gymnasts represent Singapore on the worldwide stage.

We have a lot of ideas how to grow for the future, and we seek to develop collaborations and sponsorships with local companies."

Daniela Michaely

Founder and Director, Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy

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