Sailing: Ryan Teo is latest Optimist winner

Sailing: Ryan Teo is latest Optimist winner
Ryan Teo.

For the past eight days, a sail numbered "SIN 111" has floated proudly off the shores of Hayama, Japan.

Perhaps it was a sign of things to come: After all, the sailor who helmed that boat - Singaporean schoolboy Ryan Teo - on Thursday became the Optimist champion of Asia.

The 14-year-old from Victoria School won four of nine races to beat 104 other sailors from 14 teams including the likes of Japan and South Korea, and also non-Asian nations like the United States and New Zealand, to claim the top spot.

Taking a break from setting off victory firecrackers after his win on Thursday, Ryan said: "I'm really happy and actually quite surprised with my win because there were many other good competitors here."

Indeed. He even outdid compatriot Loh Jia Yi, the defending champion and newly-crowned world champion.

Jia Yi, 15, finished fifth after 10th and 20th placings in Races 2 and 4 respectively put an end to his championship chances.

Pondering his latest success, Ryan, the European Championship winner, said the relatively light winds off the Hayama port of four to five knots during the early days of the competition might have helped him edge out the world champion.

He said: "It depends on the weather. In strong winds, Jia Yi is better. In the lighter winds here, I did better."

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