Sailing pair earn S'pore a Tokyo ticket

Lim, Low confident of winning trial to decide Republic's Olympic 49erFX representatives

Asian Games 49erFX champions Cecilia Low (left) and Kimberly Lim endured "messy and unpredictable" weather to finish 15th in the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand.
Asian Games 49erFX champions Cecilia Low (left) and Kimberly Lim endured "messy and unpredictable" weather to finish 15th in the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand.ST FILE PHOTO

Sailors Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low have earned Singapore a place at next year's Olympic Games with their performance at the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships in New Zealand yesterday.

The Asian Games champions finished 15th in the 49erFX skiff class with 198 points to take one of the six berths available for countries which had not yet done so at the 2018 World Championships, the start of the qualifying period.

The top eight at the 2018 regatta earned Tokyo 2020 spots. Lim, 23, and Low, 28, were 34th then.

In Auckland, they were seventh among countries which had not qualified. But, with each national Olympic committee allowed a maximum of one berth while the United States had two, the Republic took the last spot in the championships that ended yesterday.

Lim told The Straits Times yesterday: "(We found out) just today after finishing the race, we're happy and relieved. It was a tough week but we're really happy."

They had started well but the weather became "really messy and unpredictable" on Saturday, when it became "really tricky and nothing seemed to work".

She added: "We were just putting in whatever scores we could to get our country a spot."

Low noted that the achievement had been months in the making: "We worked with the Singapore Sport Institute really closely to try to improve every aspect - fitness, mental, nutrition. We worked with our strength and conditioning coach and tried to be fitter and heavier."

A trial in Palma, Spain, in March would decide who gets to represent the Republic and Lim is confident, saying: "Our score is pretty good so we're leading the trials".

 

  • 6th

    Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low clinched the sixth and final Olympic qualifying berth at the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships.

Turning her attention to the Olympics, she said: " We have a lot of racing to do to get sharper on our tactics... It'd be great if we make it to the top 10 out of 21 boats in our first Games."

Peter Cunningham, Singapore Sailing's performance director, praised the pair, saying: "They performed amazingly well for the first half of the regatta. They were third or thereabouts at the midpoint (after eight races). Given the calibre of the fleet here, that's amazing.

"Unfortunately, the second half of the regatta was tricky and they struggled at times. But 15th overall is still a great result. Progress is being made in the right direction."

Noting that the International Olympic Committee had reduced the quota of sailors for Tokyo 2020, he said: "I hope it inspires other Olympic hopefuls to keep plugging away at the hard work and countless hours of training as Olympic qualification isn't easy these days."

The 49erFX made its Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Games, where Singapore was represented by Griselda Khng and Sara Tan.

Singapore sailors have qualified for every edition of the quadrennial Games since 1984, peaking at 10 athletes in seven events in 2016.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2019, with the headline 'Sailing pair earn S'pore a Tokyo ticket'. Print Edition | Subscribe