Colin Cheng surprised by Sailor of the Year accolade

SingaporeSailing's Sailor of the Year Colin Cheng finished 20th out of 46 Laser Standard competitors at last year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
SingaporeSailing's Sailor of the Year Colin Cheng finished 20th out of 46 Laser Standard competitors at last year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics.TNP FILE PHOTO

Two-time Olympian Colin Cheng was named Sailor of the Year at the Singapore Sailing Federation annual awards gala dinner at One Degree 15 Marina Club at Sentosa Cove last night.

The 27-year-old Laser Standard sailor admitted that he was surprised to receive the award because he did not think he deserved it.

While he reached a career-high ranking of world No. 12 last August and went to his second Olympics, he said that there was not much to shout about, results-wise.

He said: "I was pretty disappointed in my performance in Rio. I didn't think I had any other outstanding results last year. But I appreciate the recognition and I'm thankful to receive this award."

It was Cheng's maiden win since the award was first given out in 2011. The 2006 Asian Games champion is also the oldest winner of the accolade.

Last year, windsurfer Audrey Yong, then 21, took the honours, while all previous winners were aged 16 and below.

In Rio, Cheng finished 20th in the 46-strong fleet, missing out on his target for a top-10 finish.

At his first Olympics at the 2012 London Games, he was the top Asian sailor in his class when he finished 15th.

Nonetheless, he won the Europa Cup in France last April.

To focus on training for Rio, he had put his undergraduate studies at the University of New South Wales on hold for 21/2 years.

Now back in Singapore since the end of last year, he has been coaching Ryan Lo.

He remains undecided if he wants compete at the 2020 Tokyo Games, but said: "I still enjoy sailing and competing."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 25, 2017, with the headline 'Colin Cheng surprised by Sailor of the Year accolade'. Print Edition | Subscribe