Para sail duo chart new course

Para sail duo chart new course

Records will show that para-sailors Jovin Tan and Yap Qian Yin took gold at last month's Asian Para Games in dominant fashion, winning seven of the nine races contested.

Yet, the duo were unsure if they could even compete, right until three hours before they were due to prepare for their first race on the Yellow Sea at the Wangsan Sailing Marina in Incheon, South Korea.

Yap, competing in the biggest event of her career and her first major Games, was not adjusting well to the chilly South Korean conditions or tense competition atmosphere, and had come down with a fever.

"I was shivering and our team manager said that we might have to forgo the competition," the 24-year-old told The Straits Times yesterday.

"But I'm quite stubborn and I said I'd still make my way (to the race). I promised that I would take my medication and meals."

The duo's triumph in the double-handed Hansa 303 keelboat was Singapore's first-ever gold at the Asian Para Games since it began in 2010. Team Singapore also won one silver and four bronzes.

For their feat, they were awarded The Straits Times Star of the Month for October.

The award is an extension of ST's Athlete of the Year accolade, which was launched in 2008. Both are backed by F&N's 100Plus.

"There was no doubt Jovin and Qian Yin were the most deserving of the award," said ST sports editor Marc Lim.

"They are a relatively new partnership but defied unfavourable conditions and were relentless in their pursuit of sporting excellence. They broke new ground for Singapore sports."

Said Tan, 28, a veteran competitive sailor of 13 years: "I won't say that it was an easy regatta, even though we won most of the races.

"It was a new environment, new conditions and Qian Yin had never been to such high-level racing before."

With some good races under way and a good momentum building, the Singapore sailing contingent began to grow confident that there would be a medal around the duo's necks by the end of the regatta.

But the pair refused to let it get to their heads - right until the last day of races.

Said Tan: "We were taught by our coach to forget what happened today. Tomorrow is a brand new day. We're racing against ourselves, not others.

"Winning this gold medal is a sign for ourselves, and hopefully other sportsmen, that hard work really pays off.

"You just got to be disciplined."

maychen@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Nov 15, 2014.
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