Tears give way to jubilation

Tears give way to jubilation

NAYPYIDAW - They were left in tears on Tuesday, after losing the Optimist team title to Thailand.

It was a painful lesson for Singapore - world champions no less - who were in pole position for most of the final race only to lose it in a moment's loss of concentration and go down 1-2.

With defeat still fresh in their minds, team-mates Edward Tan and Fathin Rasyiqin were determined not to repeat their mistake.

So, on Friday, on the final day of the individual events at Ngwe Saung beach, the 15-year-old duo kept their focus to claim the boys' and girls' titles respectively.

Their wins added to the nation's total of five golds, two silvers and five bronzes from the eight-day sailing competition.

Along with billiards player Peter Gilchrist's win, they helped Singapore to their biggest one-day gold haul at this edition.

Said Edward, who finished ahead of Malaysia's Muhd Dhiauddin (silver) and Thailand's Voravong Rajrattanaruk (bronze): "After the team event, Fathin and I knew we had to win the individual golds, no matter what.

"I told her we could not let our opponents win another gold. We had to destroy them."

A fired-up Edward regained his lead at the top of the individual standings a day after the team lost, and he never relinquished it.

Said the St Joseph's Institution Secondary 3 student: "I learnt from the team's loss that we should not be too complacent.

"We were just a little unfocused and we lost the race. So, I kept cool for the rest of the regatta."

Also spurred on by the defeat was Fathin, who along with Edward was part of the World Championships-winning squad in Italy in July.

She said: "Everyone was so emotional. We were screaming, we were frustrated, we were crying, because we lost so suddenly.

"It really helped; we didn't want to lose for the second time."

Edward, the team captain, felt that his experience racing in Europe had helped him deal with the winds in Myanmar, which hit up to 18 knots.

On the first day, when the winds were strongest, he scored a first, second and another first placing in the five-boat fleet.

Said Edward: "I made the most difference in the strong winds.

"I feel like I'm the most experienced here and the big winds were a boost to my confidence levels."

Said team manager Chung Pei Ming on their Optimist titles: "It's good for the kids because it shows that they can come back strong. "I'm really proud of them because they were visibly disappointed after that loss (in the team event)."

Also topping the charts for Singapore were Elizabeth Yin in the Laser Radial, Kimberly Lim and Savannah Siew in the women's 420 and the women's 470 pair of Priscilla Low and Cecilia Low.

Said Chung, on the team's overall performance, which was an improvement from the four-gold, one-silver and three-bronze haul in 2011: "I'm very happy with the team's performance.

"We have had an enjoyable two weeks here especially with our whole range of sailors - from the 11-year-old Raynn Kwok to the 38-year-old Anthony Kiong."

ugenec@sph.com.sg


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