Hayama, Japan, Tuesday, August 27, 2013 – Singapore’s junior sailors opened this year’s Asian Optimist Championships with a resounding victory in the Team Racing event. Both Singapore teams made it to the final to ensure a 1-2 finish on the podium.
Singapore, along with some nations, fielded two teams in the Team Racing event, making for a total of 16 contesting teams. Non-Asian teams from notable sailing nations Australia, New Zealand and United States of America are also participating in this year’s event.
The Asian continent was well represented by junior sailors from host nation Japan, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Singapore’s team 1, comprising Loh Jia Yi, Edward Tan, Samuel Neo, Fathin Rasyiqin and Raynn Kwok, progressed steadily, winning all their matches against Hong Kong team 2, Thailand team 2, Japan team 2 and Thailand team 1 in quick succession to book their finals’ berth.
Singapore’s team 2, comprising Koh Yi Kun, Bertha Han, Ryan Teo, Ryan Kwok and Issac Tang, had to battle through the repecharge after suffering a loss, but worked their way past Chinese Taipei and Korea to set up a rematch against their nemesis in the qualifying rounds, Thailand team 1. The team then scored a decisive victory to create an all-Singaporean final.
The all-Singaporean final did throw up a surprise however, with Singapore team 2 notching two wins in a best-of-3 finals against their higher-seeded counterparts to notch a memorable win in Japanese waters.
Singapore defends the Team Racing title for another year and the sailors’ preparations and hard work in the months leading up to this continental event has been rewarded with a most satisfying win.
Fleet racing continues on for the remaining days, as the light conditions in the first two days of the Championships has caused a backlog of races. Only two races have been sailed so far, with very little separating the top 10. Singaporeans occupy the fourth to eighth positions. Team Singapore is represented by 12 sailors in the 103-strong fleet.
The Team Racing event was held on Day 3 of the ongoing championships which has been plagued by light winds in the Japanese summer heat.