Sailing: Jia Yi is world champion

SINGAPORE - Loh Jia Yi (above) won the overall individual title at Optimist World Championships at Fraglia Vela Riva in Lake Garda, Italy, on Thursday, becoming the first Singaporean male to do so.

The sailor from Raffles Institution finished first in his 10th and final race of the yellow fleet to cement his place at the head the 259-strong regatta.

It was a near-flawless performance from the 15-year-old, who dropped out of the top three only during his seventh race on Tuesday when he finished 23rd.

The worst result of each sailor's races was discarded. His nearest competitor - 12-year-old Nils Sternbeck of Germany - lost ground on Thursday after placing 16th and ninth in the blue fleet during his last two races to finish second.

Other Singaporeans at the regatta also fared well, with Edward Tan, Bertha Han, Koh Yi Kun and Fathin Rasyiqin Mohd Firdaus all finishing in the top 25.

Edward, who was competing in the green fleet, claimed third spot overall despite finishing with the same score of 41 as Nils as he had fewer first-placed finishes than the German.

Bertha finished fourth overall (boys and girls) to clinch the individual girls' world title, while Yi Kun and Fathin finished sixth and 19th respectively.

Jia Yi's win ensured that the Optimist world title is won by a Singaporean for the third year running after Kimberly Lim (2011) and Yukie Yokoyama (last year).

It also gave Jia Yi the double as he was part of the team that successfully defended the Republic's team title last Sunday with a 2-1 victory over Italy.


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