Queensland, Australia, Monday, 15 January 2018 – Singapore finished as the top Asian nation at the 2018 Australian Youth Sailing Championships in the Nacra15 sailing class to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG), which will be held in Buenos Aires from 6-18 October 2018.
From 11-15 January 2018, the Oceania and Asia Youth Olympic Games qualifier was held as part of the Australian Youth Championship in Queensland, Australia with the top Asian nation qualifying for the YOG.
Chia Teck Pin and Sophia Rose Meyers finished 11th, in front of compatriots Raynn Kwok and Vicke Young Yun Xuan, who was 12th, but more importantly, ahead of the China team who finished 13th.
The Nacra15, sailed by a mixed gender crew, is the progressive class of the Olympic-class Nacra17 and will be competed at the YOG for the first time. The multi-hull class brings together the best of speed and tactical control that allows the boat to lift off the water in a semi-foiling state.
Nacra15 coach Terence Koh provided his take on the event, saying, “It was a challenging regatta given the conditions – light winds at the start and strong winds at the end – and even the top Australian teams struggled a little in the conditions. In the light winds, the results of this regatta shows that we can really be competitive against the best in the world.”
“Qualification was the goal at this event and the sailors did the job, but there are plenty of things to improve on. The sailors have trained very hard since getting on the boat. We’ve seen a big jump in performance since their first competition and we look forward to pushing on in the coming months. The journey is just starting and the real work begins now.”
After a light start, winds blew strong for most of the regatta, reaching 20 knots at some points, which proved challenging for all competitors. Capsizing of the Nacra15 was a very common sight throughout the competition. The Singaporean teams had to play catch-up as China were ahead after the first day of racing but they put in some good races over the course of the next few days to overtake their Asian opponents.
Eventually, a first-place finish in the 10th race for of the competition gave Chia Teck Pin and Sophia Rose Meyers the much needed breathing room to seal qualification for the Republic.
“The journey so far has been intense and even a little emotional as well,” said Sophia Rose Meyers. “I am quite happy with our progress so far but certainly not satisfied with where we are at. We know that qualifying is just the beginning and we look forward to more of these racing experience.”
“We had two DNF (Did Not Finish) on the second day of racing after a broken boom but we stuck in there and did not give up. Thing went well on the 10th race and we made good calls, eventually finishing first! It is the first time we finished with a bullet in the Nacra15.”
With Singapore assured a spot at the YOG, the teams will head to the Nacra15 World Championship in April to determine which pair represents Singapore at the quadrennial games.
Sailing has traditionally seen good results at the international level with Singapore bagging 50% of Team Singapore’s gold medals since 1994. At the YOG, sailing won bronze at the inaugural games in Singapore in the Techno 293 windsurfing class and bagging a double-gold result in the Byte Cll class at Nanjing in 2014. Sailing also sent 10 out of Team Singapore’s 24 athletes to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
In addition to the Nacra15, Singapore will be hoping to send representatives in the windsurfing BicTechno 293+ class. The Asian qualifier will be held in Singapore during the 2018 Singapore Open Windsurfing Championship from 7-11 February 2018.