By Benedict Teo

jovin tan pesta sukan

Jovin Tan gets ready to take part in the Pesta Sukan Regtta. (Photo © Victor Lim/Red Sports)


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National Sailing Centre, Sunday, August 4, 2013 – Jovin Tan Wei Qiang, 26, emerged as the winner of the Access2.3 category at the Pesta Sukan Regatta.

Jovin is a three-time paralympian sailor who had his first taste of sailing at 15. Jovin has cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects body movements and muscle coordination.

In 2012, Jovin won the Singapore Youth Award, the highest recognition the state gives to Singapore youth under 35 years of age.

Red Sports caught up with Jovin about his Pesta Sukan Regatta race.

Red Sports: What were the weather conditions like for the races in the past two days? Were they suitable for you?
Jovin Tan: The weather was good and to my liking. The breeze was light, but still reasonable enough to move the boat. It was comfortable sailing for me in these weather conditions.

Red Sports: So, besides the weather, what was the most important factor of your victory?
Jovin: I think, being focused during the races is the biggest and most important factor of my win. Things start to fall in place when I remain focused. Also, past experience from sailing the 2.3 has given me an edge over the rest. In sailing, every little bit of experience helps to contribute toward your final race result.

Red Sports: Outside of races, who provides any kind of support for you?
Jovin: Well, my brother is a big pillar of support for me. He is my caregiver and tends to me whenever I need someone to. The volunteers are quite helpful in helping us to recover and launch our boats. I’d also like to thanks NSC for inviting us over to take part in this regatta. There aren’t many regattas for us in Singapore, so each regatta is of great importance to us.

Red Sports: Can you further elaborate on how your brother and the volunteers provide assistance for you?
Jovin: My brother doesn’t only perform his duty as a caregiver, but also helps me in other situations as well. For example, for every day of a regatta, he’ll help me rig my boat, help me get in and out of the boat, and also wait for me till the races end. As for the volunteers, they helped me launch my boat, recover the boat, and also some of them were helping us to run the races. Oh and also, NSC waived off the entry fee for Sailablity, which provides more opportunity for disabled people to try out sailing.

Red Sports: Aside from those you’ve just mentioned, who else do you attribute your win to?
Jovin: My coaches, both past and present, have helped me to build up my knowledge about sailing. My family members were there to provide me with moral support whenever I needed it.

Red Sports: What do you think are the main differences between sailing the Access2.3 and other dinghies?
Jovin: The 2.3 is much more safer to sail, because it is more stable and harder to capsize. The broader hull makes the boat less prone to rocking. However, it is noticeably slower than the other dinghies. Again, the broader hull creates more friction.

Red Sports: You seem to enjoy this regatta very much. Do you wish there are more Access2.3 regattas annually?
Jovin: Yes, of course. I hope there are more local events where they invite us to join the race, together with the other able-bodied events.

Red Sports: What do you enjoy most about sailing the Acesss2.3?
Jovin: There are many things I enjoy about sailing, but I think the biggest plus about sailing is the sense of freedom you get. Not every activity allows you to be out in the open sea, alone, just you and the sea. I also enjoy the sun and breeze a lot. Sailing is a good way to expose yourself to the sun and breeze and be in touch with nature.

Red Sports: What was your most memorable moment of sailing the Access2.3?
Jovin: Till today I still remember the moment when I won the gold medal at the 2006 FESPIC (Far East and South Pacific Games for the Disabled) Games racing in the 2.3 class. The FESPIC Games is our equivalent of the able-bodied Asian Games.

Red Sports: Other than memories, what else have you gained from taking part in sailing? And would you recommend sailing to others?
Jovin: By participating in sailing, I’ve built up my physical fitness, my mental agility, independence and confidence. Sailing is also a good way to keep your mind and body occupied over the long weekends. Because of the gains I have experience while participating in sailing, I would encourage people with disabilities to try sailing.