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Asia's Darling

Behind prodigies are – more often than not – exceptional parents. This seems to hold true in the case of Kyra Poh as well. When she broke into high-performance indoor skydiving by claiming her first world record in 2013, her trajectory showed strong signs of “parental guidance.” That Kyra, at age 11, would have thought of turning to the Guinness organization to circumvent the age restrictions in her sport is rather doubtful. Very likely, that is where mom, Carolyn Teo, and dad, Roy Poh, came in with good career planning and advice.

Kyra Poh, SIN

That Kyra started with indoor skydiving in the first place had also to do with her mom – and a professional assignment. Carolyn was handling the advertising account of iFLY Singapore at the time and needed a young protagonist to appear in one of her commercials.

Carolyn’s views on a well-rounded but properly paced education – and on the pursuit of high-flying ambitions – helped Kyra’s career along. “What difference does it make if Kyra graduates with a degree when she’s 21 or at 24?”

“I’m all about experience, and I think what Kyra has garnered from the sport has given her a journey that far surpasses what you would get from school,” Carolyn explains.

“This aspect of my parenting style is very much influenced by my late father, who taught me that the hardest thing to do is to give your child the freedom to make all decisions – good or bad.”

Rather than making this article about the parents, I want to let Kyra use her own words to explain what makes her click in the flight chamber and in a television studio. About to turn 18 in June this year, she is a seasoned competitor, a champion, a spokesperson for a major brand – and even an ambassador for her country.

Following her appearance in The Wind Games 2020, another article on Kyra appeared in the lifestyle section of a major Asian newspaper. I contacted staff writer Lauren James of the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) to ask her what it is that makes the young Singaporean so irresistible for the media.

I think the sport is very exciting and gives an interesting indication of a future where technology intersects with human physicality for competitive purposes. Kyra in particular is compelling as she is young, female and Asian, and therefore of great interest to our readers.

Lauren James, SCMP

For the benefit of the parents out there hoping that their prodigies will take a career path similar to Kyra's I would want to add these words of caution. That this happens is the exception, certainly not the rule. The more - in absolute numbers - who are aspiring, the fewer will ultimately make it to the top. And last but not least: Kyra has a younger sister, Vera.

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