Pic: SSF, ISAF
Singapore’s sailors Bernie Chin (3rd from left) and Samantha Yom (2nd from left) clinch historic gold medals for Singapore at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
The Singapore Sailing Team made a breakthrough with the nation’s sailors finishing strongly in the final day of racing in Nanjing to deliver Singapore’s first ever Gold medals in Olympic competition.
Bernie Chin held his lead and his nerve going into the final day of racing to place 5th in the final race, which counted as double points and non-discardable, well clear of his nearest threat Brazilian Pedro Correa. The result sealed the win for Bernie after a testing week.
The sailors at Jinniu lake have been tested not just on their sailing skills, but their patience and composure as well. Unstable wind conditions during the previous 3 days have seen racing postponed, and even the final race scheduled for yesterday was cancelled after a strom lashed the sailing venue.
Bernie Chin’s win would be especially sweet, following a near disastrous start to the competition where he finished poorly in the opening race and was scored as Did-Not-Finish in the second race. He steadied himself to sail up and through the fleet gradually, raising his game as the competition wore on… saving his strongest finishes for the tail end of the regatta to overtake the early leaders before sealing the win in the finals.
Adding another historic Gold medal to the tally was Samantha Yom, in the girl’s division. Samantha started well and was constantly in the medal positions throughout the week. She went into the final race, trailing her Dutch competitor Odile van Aanholt by 4 points. A clean and inspiring race saw her finishing ahead of the Dutch, and with sufficient point difference to overhaul the series leader and sail home with Gold!
Samantha was constantly in the medal positions throughout the week.Photo: ISAF
The collective performance also saw Singapore being the most successful nation in the sailing competition, the only nation to win 2 Gold medals out of 4 events contested under sailing. It also serves as a good barometer of the quality of junior and youth sailors who have been emerging from Singapore Sailing Federation’s revamped developmental programmes since 2010, following-on from the strategic blueprint laid out under The Next Leg.
Dr Ben Tan, President of SingaporeSailing shared his delight with the team’s performance at the quadrennial event, saying, “At the media event to announce Seiko as SingaporeSailing’s official timekeeper, I mentioned that we expect our sailors to be good ambassadors for Singapore and have a professional attitude towards training and racing. Bernie and Samantha have done just that and we are proud of them. They raced in extremely challenging conditions, against world class peers, and they won convincingly!”
Chipping in, Mr Rupert Ong, Vice President SingaporeSailing overseeing High Performance matters shared, “Congratulations to the sailors and also the entire sailing community. Their success belongs to everyone back home too! Their friends and peers whom the raced against and trained with in the lead-up to the YOG have ensured that they reached Nanjing well-prepared and ready. Their performances also validate the High Performance plans put in place by the Olympic Pathway Taskforce since 2011. I am sure their YOG win and experience have inspired them to reach for greater heights in the senior Olympic sailing and we look forward to seeing them challenge themselves towards Tokyo 2020 or even Rio 2016!”
Taking stock of Singapore Sailing Team’s continued good performances at the world sailing levels, especially in the junior and youth, CEO Tan Wearn Haw shared his insights.
“SingaporeSailing have been strategising and implementing the Olympic Pathway plans assiduously over the past 4 years and this has brought about unprecedented breakthrough results each year, from being the reference point in junior sailing development (with multiple world titles for the past 3 years) and world titles at other world benchmark events like the ISAF Youth Worlds. We have shifted programmes towards ensuring that Singapore’s sailors are training and competing in benchmark classes and competitons, exposing them to real competition, in the real world. There is still lots of work ahead, but it is clear that we have a group of hardworking athletes with good foundation coming through the ranks. We hope that with each successive generation, they will build on that foundation to make further breakthroughs in the Olympic and senior levels.
But what fantastic performances by our sailors in Nanjing! And what an honour to have Majulah Singapura being played at an Olympic medal ceremony! Congratulations to the sailors, the team making it all possible and the community for the splendid showing!”