SEA Games hopeful Klinsmann alleges other windsurfers plotted against him

SEA Games hopeful Klinsmann alleges other windsurfers plotted against him

SINGAPORE - He was looking forward to representing Singapore at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games in December in windsurfing.

But an alleged conspiracy among five of his fellow teammates has ended Klinsmann Ang's hopes of participating in Myanmar.

The 15-year-old windsurfer (above) and his parents told The New Paper that the five first plotted to scupper Klinsmann's chances at the Fish and Co National Youth Sailing Championships in March.

One of the five has since confessed his deed to Klinsmann's parents as well as the Singapore Sailing Federation (SSF).

The issue is now under investigation and has been referred to the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY).

Klinsmann claims that during the races, the five blocked his way and even knocked him off his board in an attempt to hamper his chances.

Said the St Hilda's Secondary School student, who is named after the famous German striker Juergen Klinsmann: "During the first race, one of my seniors on the Olympic class boards tried to disrupt my start and I fell into the water.

"Throughout the regatta, I felt the others were teaming up against me, trying to knock me down and lose my position. It happened every day with different people."

The races featured both the Olympic class RS:X boards and the smaller Bic Techno 293 boards which Klinsmann was racing.

The teenager eventually finished the five-day regatta, which was one of two qualifiers for the SEA Games, in sixth place out of the eight-strong Bic Techno fleet. Though he suspected then that something was amiss, the incident only came to light when one of the five boys involved confessed.

In his handwritten confession, four of the boys had agreed to take turns to block off Klinsmann at various stages of the race to help the fifth qualify for the Dutch Youth Regatta in May.

Such tactics amount to team racing, which counts as gross misconduct in fleet racing.

After first bringing up the matter to the SSF in April, Klinsmann's mother Stephenie met with the national sports association's officials to lodge a complaint regarding two more incidents.

She alleged another incident took place at the 2013 Myanmar Nationals in April where one of the boys tried to involve Klinsmann in team racing against the Malaysian team.

Cyberbullying

Her third complaint was one of cyber-bullying aimed at Klinsmann and herself by the other windsurfers.

Stephenie told TNP that she was also unhappy when asked to pay the SSF a race protest fee of $500 to conduct the investigation for each allegation, totalling $1,500.

The fee, which is in place to discourage frivolous protests and pay for international judges to reassess the races in question, is refundable if the SSF deems the allegation valid.

When contacted, the SSF said it would not comment on the investigation because it was presently in the hands of MCCY.

It is not clear if Klinsmann can still be considered for the SEA Games if it is proven that team racing was used against him.

While Klinsmann is still keen on pursuing the sport, the 1.80m-tall teen admitted his passion had taken a beating from the incident.

"I was really looking forward to representing Singapore at the SEA Games and I was very disappointed by what happened," he said.

"I lost heart after that and it really took away my passion for the sport.

"Even so, I grew up with the sport since Primary 3 and it will be quite hard for me to leave it."

gregloo@sph.com.sg


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