Sailing body remains optimistic

No medal for juniors in world c'ships but CEO knows they'll be ready for SEA Games

For the first time since Singapore were the top team in 2006, the Republic's sailors did not make the podium in any event at the Optimist World Championships.

The championships for juniors aged 15 and under concluded on Thursday at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya, Thailand, featured 280 sailors from 62 countries.

Singapore were represented by Jonathan Lio, Muhammad Daniel Kei Yazid, Max Teo, Finian Lee and Faith Toh.

Jonathan, 14, was the country's top performer in the individual race with his 18th-place finish.

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

Fellow 14-year-olds Daniel, winner of last year's Asian & Oceanian Optimist Championships, and Max Teo finished 40th and 64th respectively. Faith, 13, was 50th, while 14-year-old Finian raced in the second-tier blue fleet, where he finished 26th in a field of 70.

Singapore finished fourth in the team racing event, which the United States won. China were second, while Malaysia were third.

In the Nations Cup, where teams are ranked according to the sum of the final ranks of their top four sailors, Singapore were fourth with 172 points. The US (77 points), China (102) and Thailand (119) occupied the top three spots.

  • TRACK RECORD

  • Singapore's medal haul from the past 11 editions of the Optimist World Championships includes:

  • 2016

    BRONZE: Nations Cup

    2015

    GOLDS: Team, girls' category, Nations Cup

    SILVER: Individual

    2014

    SILVER: Team

    2013

    GOLDS: Individual, team, girls' category, best performing nation

    2012

    GOLDS: Individual, team, girls' category, best performing nation

    2011

    GOLDS: Individual, team, girls' category, best performing nation

    2010

    SILVER: Team

    2009

    BRONZE: Team

    2008

    SILVER: Team, girls' category

    2007

    SILVER: Team

    BRONZE: Girls' category

    2006

    GOLDS: Team, girls' category, best performing nation

    SILVER: Individual

Singapore bagged a bronze in the Nations Cup last year.

Before that, their results at the Optimist World Championships included a clean sweep of the titles on offer from 2011 to 2013, a team silver in 2014 and a team gold in 2015.

But SingaporeSailing chief executive officer Lim Han Ee insisted that the slide in results, a month before the SEA Games in Malaysia, is not a cause for worry.

He said: "(The results) are what they are, and our sailors will continue to learn and improve and be motivated.

"At this age, the emphasis is on enjoying the process of competing, learning to deal with the struggles of doing well and sailing in different types of conditions."

Italy's Marco Gradoni topped the individual race standings, while Malaysia's Muhammad Fauzi Kaman Shah was second and Mic Sig Kos Mohr of Costa Rica third.

Congratulating the Republic's regional counterparts on their performance, Lim added: "They've put a lot of effort in their talent development and I'm sure there are some things that we can learn from them and look for ways to improve and coach our sailors."

Still, the 39-year-old believes there are positives that Singapore's young sailors will take home from the regatta.

Daniel, Max and Finian will feature at the SEA Games regatta in Langkawi, and Lim is sure they will enter the biennial meet "even more hungry and motivated".

"For the juniors and youth, one of the key qualities that will support their development is their resilience and how they bounce back from adversity and challenges," he said.

"In sailing, you won't win all the races.

"The key idea is how the athletes learn to deal with these losses - there are always lessons to be learnt."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2017, with the headline 'Sailing body remains optimistic'. Print Edition | Subscribe