They are vying for Singapore's lone windsurfing spot in August's Youth Olympic Games (YOG), an event that promotes friendship, but best buddies Ynez Lim and Mildred Phang face the irony of needing to eliminate each other to earn that ticket to Nanjing, China.
By their own admission, the pair of 15-year-old Secondary 4 students have such a telepathic understanding that they say their sailing abilities complement each other.
However, at the Fish & Co Youth Sailing Championships, which ended on Saturday after five days, it was Mildred who had to outwit her childhood friend to be in the driving seat to qualify for the YOG.
She finished fifth as the top Singaporean female in their Bic Techno 293 class. Ynez, from St Anthony's Canossian Secondary, settled for seventh after Mildred, from Nanyang Girls' High School, pipped her on the fourth day of racing, when the winds slowed.
Feeling the conflict of needing to win to torpedo her pal, Mildred said: "I didn't go in wanting to beat Ynez."
Ynez, meanwhile, felt the heat from her friend, saying: "It was pressurising when she was coming up (the rankings) every single day, because the wind was really light and it was an advantage for her."
Both girls, along with 11th-placed Cheyenne Chan (who just missed the medal race for the top 10 after 13 races), have one last qualifying hurdle in May - the internal selection trials by the Singapore Sailing Federation (SSF), which will decide who will represent Singapore at the YOG.
Determined to earn the nod, Ynez said: "I'm going to train really hard, and train for light winds, so I can beat Mildred, because that (the YOG place) would be really important.
"We are enemies on water but best friends on land."
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