SEA Games: No targets for S'pore sailing team

Go out and enjoy the experience.

That was the message Singapore Sailing Federation (SSF) president Ben Tan had for the South-east Asia (SEA) Games sailors.

While many will expect the Republic's 20-strong sailing contingent to deliver medals at the biennial Games in Myanmar next month, Tan did not commit to a medal target.

Instead, the 1994 Asian Games gold medallist believes the medals will come without the need for target-setting - as shown by Singapore's reigning Optimist world champions.

In July, Singapore captured the team Optimist title in Italy before Loh Jia Yi went on to claim the Republic's third successive individual world title.

Speaking at the announcement of the SEA Games team at the National Sailing Centre on Saturday, Tan said: "(Setting a target) is counter-productive, especially with a team (that has a diverse range of experience) like that where we want to emphasise the sports psychology and right principles too.

"We didn't set a target for Optimist world champions. We told them to have fun and build meaningful relationships, and they got the results.

MOTIVATE

"If you set a target, you might not have that kind of results. So, I hope we all learn from our past successes and build on it to motivate the team and control their efforts so that it works in a constructive way."

While the bulk of the SEA Games sports will be contested in Naypyidaw, the sailors will do battle at Ngwe Saung Beach some 369km away.

Singapore last topped the SEA Games medal charts in 2005 as Thailand took top spot in 2007 and 2011. Sailing was not contested in the 2009 Games.

Even though this year's SEA Games could be an opportunity to establish Singapore as the top sailing nation, Tan insisted that the SSF shunned such talk in line with its approach.

He said: "We have to walk the talk. If we tell our sailors to focus on the controllables, we ourselves have to do that.

"... If we can prove at world championship level that you don't have to set a result target to get No. 1 in the world and dominate the position, why do we want to go backwards and set targets? We know that it fails."

However, such an approach does not mean the SSF is taking its participation in Myanmar lightly.

With the SEA Games coming to Singapore in 2015, the national sports association knows a good showing this year will have a knock-on effect.

Tan said: "Every Games is a stepping stone, so we take every Games seriously.

"Our planning goes beyond 2015 and we've even planned for up till 2020 already.

"With 2015 being in Singapore, this one is critical so we spared no effort."


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