Paralympics reflections: Sailing's Yap Qian Yin matures through rough seas

Jovin Tan and Yap Qian Yin were unable to complete their participation in the keelboat competition after rough conditions forced them to pull out. Yap says the decision, albeit trying, has helped her grow.
Jovin Tan and Yap Qian Yin were unable to complete their participation in the keelboat competition after rough conditions forced them to pull out. Yap says the decision, albeit trying, has helped her grow.PHOTO: SPORT SINGAPORE

Despite her Paralympic Games debut ending prematurely when she had to pull out of the competition, para-sailor Yap Qian Yin feels that she has matured.

And contrary to some media reports, which attributed her withdrawal to a seizure, the Singaporean told The Straits Times that the rough conditions at the Marina de Gloria wore her down as she partnered Jovin Tan in the two-person keelboat (Skud 18) sailing competition.

"The conditions were pretty harsh," said Yap, reflecting on her challenge in tackling the difficult weather elements that including 20-knot winds.

"On that day (Sept 15), we were caught off-guard as it became cold while the previous day was sunny. The wind was gusting and too strong.

"Our sails were caught under the boat and I became very exhausted trying to handle that.

"I had a bit of chills, big splashes of water kept splashing onto my face. I felt that I could not cope because physically, I was exhausted.

"I fought hard to compete in all my races and it was hard (to withdraw). It was not what we had wanted to do because we had chances to climb up the positions."

The pair, gold medallists at the 2014 Asian Para Games, were forced to withdraw after completing six out of 11 races in the event and were ranked ninth out of 11 pairs.

Tan, 30 and competing at his fourth Paralympics, added: "The chief (chef de mission Ho Cheng Kwee) made the decision to pull us out of the competition, so we have to respect his decision.

"But generally, we are OK, we are mentally strong and fit. Qian Yin is strong and fit now so there is no serious condition about her."

Yap is not dwelling on the disappointment and the 26-year-old has learnt to take it all in her stride and move on.

She said: "I felt that this time round, I have matured and grown. This withdrawal has given me a hard lesson.

"But life goes on."

Alvin Chia and Nicole Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2016, with the headline 'Yap matures through rough seas'. Print Edition | Subscribe