At the TECHNO 293 World Championships 2016 held in Torbole, Italy (Lake Garda), Singapore finished better than they did last year with 14-year-old Alexander Lim finishing as the best performer when he placed 27th out of 135 racers in the 15 junior boys category.
Last year’s competition had three windsurfers participating in the premier event for the class and finished 47th out of 47 racers in the U15 Junior Girls category, 30th out of 85 racers in the U15 Junior boys category and 82nd out of 111 racers in the U17 Youth Boys category.
Singapore sent four racers to this year’s championships, held from 24th to 29th October 2016. Along with Alexander, 15-year-olds Cara Loo, Marsha Binte Shahrin and Katerina Teo participated in the U17 youth girls category. Marsha Binte Shahrin of Raffles Girls School qualified for the gold fleet and came in overall 37th out of 42 racers in the gold fleet while Cara Loo from Nanyang Girls High School and Katerina Teo from Saint Joseph International School finished in 20th and 24th position respectively, out of 40 racers in the silver fleet (total in U17 Youth Girls category – 82 racers).
This World Championships attracted a total of 474 competitors from 33 countries in the Techno 293 and Techno 293 Plus World Championships. Some countries, including U.S.A., Hong Kong, Italy, Poland and Israel, proved to be strong competition. This event was organized by Circolo Surf Torbole (CST) in co-operation with the ITA T293 Class Association & Italian Sailing Federation (FIV) and sanctioned by the International Windsurfing Association.
Their coach, Joshua Choo Meng Keong, was very proud of his racers who managed to handle the strong winds despite not having had much exposure to such conditions before. The conditions in Singapore where the windsurfers train at was in sharp contrast with the conditions on the Italian lake. Moreover, many races were also postponed or cancelled, until the wind speed were strong enough at around 10 knots or more. The racers gave their best in every race throughout the six days, battling the cold winds and large competitive fleet.
Despite the challenging conditions, Alexander, who previously participated in the 2015 Asian Windsurfing Championships (Enoshima Fujisawa, Japan) last year from 26 Sep to 4 Oct, demonstrated good techniques and performed well for many individual races, placing him in top 10 for several races. He was placed 7th in his very first race, and 8th the next race but due to collisions with French and Italian windsurfers at the start line, his overall position was affected. Marsha, Cara and Katerina set high personal expectations and showed tenacity to eventually overcome the demanding requirements of the competition.
It was a great eye-opening experience for all the windsurfers, who agreed that exposure to such conditions outside of Singapore will serve them well in future competitions. They very much look forward to utilizing what they have learnt to improve their techniques in the upcoming trainings and competitions.
Marsha, who achieved her target of finishing the gold fleet, said, “I have learnt where I stand internationally and I know how much effort I have to put in if I want to eventually win a medal at the Olympics.”