By Koh Ling Ying
Perth, September 24-30, 2016 — Going for the World University Championships (WUC) has been my dream since I first entered the Singapore Management University (SMU) Sailing Club in 2014. I had heard many stories about this prestigious and exciting event from my seniors and wanted to experience for myself this unique regatta.
Held every two years, and open only to current and recently graduated (within 1 year) university students, the WUC is an event bringing together the best student athletes from each country, resulting in a high-level of competition.
This year’s WUC Sailing was held in Perth, Australia, a venue well-known for sailing. Nine countries took part, and there were nine teams in the Open Division, and five in the Women’s Division.
Both the Singapore Open team and Women’s team had arrived earlier in Perth to familiarise ourselves with the competition boat as well as the weather conditions. We familiarised ourselves with the boat relatively quickly as we could draw on the experiences from our trainings in Singapore.
However, getting used to the colder weather was especially difficult for some of us. Our second day of training saw us battle cold, wet weather due to rain showers. We were not used to the cold winds and rain, and went about procuring more wet and cold weather gear as the weather forecast predicted rain during the competition period.
Training days passed by quickly, and before we knew it, the first day of competition had arrived. Being a five-day event, there was plenty of time, hence two round robins were scheduled for the Open teams, and three for the Women’s teams.
The Singapore Open team finished 6th in their round robin while our Women’s team finished 2nd. The Swiss appeared to be our most formidable opponent, topping the round robins. The Australians too were a steadily improving team, and we lost to them in our final round-robin match.
We went on to face the Australians in the semi-finals while the Swiss picked the 4th placed French as their semi-final opponent. The day of the semi-finals was blessed with sunshine and clear skies. However, the races had to be postponed due to lack of winds. The race eventually started in wind conditions lighter than what we had experienced in the event thus far. The Australians put up an outstanding performance and we lost 2-0 to them.
The next day, we were up against the French in the petit finals. We pulled off a convincing 2-0 win over them and headed back to shore before the rains came. The finals were held in stormy showers and the Australians beat the Swiss 3-2 after a nail-biting 5 matches.
Overall, our team was very happy that we managed to get a women’s team bronze medal.
The last day of racing also saw all the student athletes scurrying to give out their country collar pins and exchange shirts with friends made over the past few days of competition. The spirit of friendship and camaraderie between teams is something that I enjoyed very much and I can only hope to have the chance to take part in the WUC again.
Singapore Open Team
Clement Lim (SMU)
Wilson Cai (SMU)
Colin Tan (SMU)
Tan Dexun (SMU)
James Lim (SMU)
About the author: Koh Ling Ying is an undergraduate at the Singapore Management University.
More photos next page