(Singapore, 24 June 2016) – Singapore has been awarded an unused quota place in the RS:X Women’s event at the Rio Olympic Games. The offer was made by World Sailing (WS), the world governing body for the sport of sailing, through the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC).

Windsurfer Audrey Yong has earned nomination by the Singapore Sailing Federation to SNOC for inclusion in the Singapore Sailing Team for the Rio Olympic Games and the Federation is very happy that SNOC has accepted the nomination.

The 21-year-old, who was named Sailor of the Year at the Singapore Sailing Federation Annual Awards last week, will be the first ever female windsurfer to represent Singapore at the Olympic Games.

Said Yong, “It feels surreal to have been given the chance to represent Singapore at the Olympics; I still can’t believe it!”

“My family, friends and the Federation have been a great support in all my sporting endeavours. I am incredibly grateful to have their support in my decision to take this chance to represent Singapore. I started windsurfing 8 years ago and I have never looked back ever since. It’s been an amazing experience and I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to represent our country,” she added.

According to the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Qualification System, 50% of the entry quota in each event is awarded based on the results at the 2014 International Sailing Federation (ISAF – now known as World Sailing) Sailing World Championships; the remaining places are awarded based on the 2015 Class World Championship and the 2015/2016 Continental Qualification Events sanctioned by WS.

National Olympic Councils (NOCs) were to have confirmed the use of their allocated qualification quota places with WS by 1 June 2016. Following the deadline, the unused quota places shall be reallocated within the same event to the next best ranked NOC, irrespective of continent, not yet qualified, based on the results of the 2015 World Championships.

Windsurfing teammate Nicole Lim Si Ying’s result at the 2015 World Championship placed Singapore high enough in ranking to be awarded the unused quota place. Whilst she did not continue her campaign after that event, her efforts back then have now effectively earned the Republic a spot at Rio.

Said Lim upon being informed of the news, “I am happy to have been able to play a part in securing a place for Singapore (at the Olympics). Audrey has worked very hard and all her efforts are now converting to progress. I am extremely happy for her and wish her the best of luck on her Olympic campaign.”

In the event that there still are unused quota places following this process, the second and third stages of reallocation will come into play.

As stipulated in the policy document issued on 1 October 2015 by the Singapore Sailing Federation on the guidelines for the selection to SNOC of Singapore’s Sailing Team for the Rio Olympic Games, athletes who wish to be considered for nomination are to register their entry for the respective nomination events. Yong is the only athlete who sought selection in women’s windsurfing.

Yong won a gold medal in the RS:X Women’s event at the Southeast Asian Games last year, earning Singapore’s first windsurfing gold since 1989. She also earned Singapore’s first sailing medal at the Youth Olympic Games in 2010 where she won a bronze.

She embarked on her first Olympic campaign in 2010 towards the London Games in 2012. Although she did not secure qualification, Yong, resolute in her pursuit of the Olympic dream, was determined to succeed on her second try. Building on her experience from her first Olympic campaign, Yong committed to a training programme towards Rio 2016.

She narrowly missed out on Olympic qualification at the Asian Sailing Federation (ASAF) Asian Championship 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in March this year. Yong placed 5th overall at the championship, behind Thai rival Siripon Kaewduangngam in 2nd place, who took the one and only qualification place on offer.

Fellow windsurfer Leonard Ong, 24, qualified for Rio in the RS:X Men’s class at the championship, earning one of the two qualification berths on offer. Singapore was last represented in windsurfing at the Olympic Games more than three decades ago when the late Kelly Chan represented the nation at the Los Angeles Games in 1984.

With the latest qualification, Singapore now has a total of seven berths at Rio. The remaining six events in which Singapore’s sailors have secured a spot are the Laser Standard, Laser Radial, 470 Women, 49erFX, Nacra 17 and RS:X Men. A record ten sailors will represent Singapore at Rio, marking the largest Olympic sailing team ever in the nation’s history. The contingent is the second largest in Asia, behind Japan who leads the pack with eleven sailors also in seven events.

Said Dr Ben Tan, President of the Federation, “Our women’s windsurfer won a YOG bronze, a SEA Games gold (both unprecedented) and narrowly missed out on Olympic qualification. SSF is grateful that Singapore has landed an Olympic slot as the next best qualifier, as that will help us better prepare for 2020.”

Said Rupert Ong, Vice President of the Federation overseeing the Performance portfolio, “We now have ten sailors who will represent Singapore at Rio – a very impressive accomplishment that stems from the foresight and strategic thinking of our Olympic Pathway Taskforce and the strong implementation of the plans and programmes by our Performance team. It is critical that we continue to ensure a continuous Olympic pathway in order to pave the way for our future generations of Olympic sailors.”

Head of Performance of the Federation, Chua Tan Ching, who was instrumental in Yong’s attainment of Singapore’s first sailing medal at the Youth Olympic Games in 2010 as her coach, said, “In 2010, we revamped the windsurfing programme to revitalise the sport and to inject new energy into it. Today, we have two Olympic tickets in windsurfing – I am immensely proud!”

2016 Olympic Sailing Qualification System issued by World Sailing
2016 Olympic Sailing Qualification System_World Sailing

©2016 Singapore Sailing Federation
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