Meet Kyra Poh, The Indoor Skydiving Champion Who Put Singapore On The World Map

Indoor skydiving world champion Kyra Poh was recently nominated for the Singapore Sports Awards 2024 Sports Woman of the Year Award
Indoor skydiving world champion Kyra Poh was recently nominated for the Singapore Sports Awards 2024 Sports Woman of the Year Award
Photo: Mark Teo, courtesy of Kyra Poh

Every issue, GRAZIA Singapore highlights a Game Changer who inspires, educates and celebrates individuality, beauty and style. This month, meet Kyra Poh, the indoor skydiving world champion and Singapore Sports Awards 2024 Sports Woman of the Year Award nominee.

You went for your first indoor skydiving session when you were eight. What was it about that experience that got you hooked?
Imagine being just eight and told there’s a machine that makes humans float. I was so intrigued—and it still blows my mind 13 years later that there’s a facility that allows people to completely lift off the ground. It was an exhilarating experience; the pure liberation of floating fuelled my childhood love of adrenaline and really started a lasting passion for flight.

You make leaping into a jet of fast‑moving air or out of a plane look easy. Is it?
“Easy” is quite subjective, isn’t it? To me, skydiving is far from easy, but I’ve become more proficient at it. After more than 400 jumps from planes, the actions of spinning and twisting in the sky now feel almost as natural as they do when I’m flying in a tunnel. Every move is meticulously practised until it appears seamless and effortless, and achieving this requires extensive training as well as many rounds of adjustments and learning. Maintaining control and executing moves perfectly while free‑falling at speeds exceeding 200km/h is a formidable challenge, but as professionals, we perform with elegance and make it look effortlessly graceful!

For the bulk of your indoor skydiving years, you’ve been juggling school and training. Was there much space for downtime?
For many years, I didn’t have the liberty to experience downtime—making the choice to invest my time, not to mention my parents’ efforts, meant I had to give this sport my 120 per cent. I sometimes felt deprived of the chance to just be a child or a teenager, but giving up flying was never an option for me; it was my life. I came to realise that flying is a break from studying, while studying is a break from flying. Now, as a full‑time university student, I still juggle both commitments, yet I find satisfaction in pushing myself to my limits.

What are your strategies for staying on top of everything, remaining mentally strong and not burning out?
Winning once is difficult, but consistently securing victories presents a new set of challenges. My win at the 2023 FAI World Indoor Skydiving Championships last April proved to me that I was stronger than I believed and capable of overcoming any challenge if I just kept pushing. The endless backing from my family has truly been the backbone of my success. And lately, embracing more fun in my life has been crucial in preventing burnout. I’ve started to ease up on my self‑expectations as well, realising that it’s not always about winning, but rather about performing to a standard that makes me proud and can inspire others.

What does it mean to you to have created so much awareness for indoor skydiving, especially at a time when it was not that popular a sport?
I take great pride in how far this sport has come. When I began, indoor skydiving was a little‑known niche sport. For more than eight years, it was just my sky‑diving partner, Choo Yi Xuan, and me representing Singapore, but now, we have a team of six youths, many of whom have become World Cup champions and junior world champions. It’s incredibly heart‑warming to witness the rapid growth of the sport, particularly in Asia and Singapore.

How would you define success? Is it world records and medals, or something else altogether?
That’s a tough question and something I think about constantly. It’s easy to relate medals and positions to success, as they’re quantifiable. But I’m trying to look at success from a more holistic perspective as I enter my 20s: being a role model to other athletes, being the best sportsperson I can be while still being authentic, and inspiring people to work hard and reach their goals. Right now, my goal is to start competing in the sky in the next few years. On other fronts, I want to gain more experience, travel more and do the best I can at university. To me, true success would be excelling in all areas of life: family, love, passion, profession, education, health and religion.

This story originally appeared in the June/July 2024 issue of GRAZIA Singapore.


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