Asian Games: No coach, no money, No. 1

Asian Games: No coach, no money, No. 1
NEAR PERFECT: The Singapore team of (from far left) Russell Kan, Justin Wong, Andrew Paul Chan and Maximilian Soh lost only once in all 21 matches raced.

It was not meant as defiance, it was not a case where he hoped somebody would read between the lines and get the message.

Justin Wong's first audible words as he got off the J80 keelboat at Wangsan Sailing Marina yesterday were delivered simply, as a matter of fact.

"No coach, no money, No. 1."

His choice of punctuation: an index finger pointing up to the Incheon sky.

Wong, along with Maximilian Soh, Russel Kan, Andrew Paul Chan and Christopher Lim, blew the opposition out of the water to win gold in sailing's open match racing at the Asian Games yesterday, beating hosts South Korea 2-0 in the final.

Japan were third, beating Malaysia 2-0 in the petit final (bronze-medal playoff).

The Singapore team lost only once in all 21 matches raced - in a round-robin tie against the South Koreans - but there was no basking in their near total domination of the field at the Asiad.

Instead, they spoke about the challenges they faced to get there, and the many more that lie ahead.

They had no funding to hire a coach, spent five months in the United States honing their skills at the USA Match Racing Grandslam Series - paid for by donations and a fundraising event - and were not even kitted out by national body SingaporeSailing.

"We understand why - match racing is not an event at the Olympics, and so not their focus. But we're not angry with them, we just have to make the most of what we've got," said Wong.

Prior to the Games, the Singapore men were already taking part in International Sailing Federation-sanctioned match racing events.

They fly the Republic's flag under the name Team Red Dot (TRD) and are currently ranked 26th in the world order.

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