Gold medallist Jodie Lai (2nd from left) and Silver medallists Priscilla (L) and Cecilia (2nd from right) after their races (Photo by Singapore Sailing Federation)
There were scenes of jubilation at the Wangsan Sailing Arena on Tuesday as Team Singapore celebrated winning two Gold medals, two Silvers and two Bronzes at the 2014 Asian Games.
Jodie Lai Xuan Yi clinched Gold in the Optimist class with 26.0 total points and 22.0 net points after the 12 races, while in the Women's 420, Kimberly Lim and Savannah Siew held off a strong challenge from Malaysia and South Korea to secure another Gold in Incheon.
In the 29er Women's Two Person Dinghy, sisters Priscilla and Cecilia Low grabbed a Silver medal, bettered only by an excellent Thai pair. Raynn Kwok also won Silver after grabbing 36 points to finish second in the Optimist Men's One Person Dinghy competition.
Team Singapore’s crew Yeo Jonathan (L) and skipper Loh Jia Yi before 420 - Men's Two Person Dinghy (Photo by Jaewon Lee / Sport Singapore)
The two Bronze medals came from the Men’s team - Colin Cheng secured his in the Laser while the 420 pairing of Loh Jia Yi and Jonathan Yeo also finished third.
They may have been a tired and cold team after a long day on the water, with the start delayed due to a lack of wind, but their results meant that the young Singapore team were in no rush to head indoors, gathering on the edge of the marina to embrace each other and pose with the national flag.
“We have always anticipated that in Asia the standard is going higher and higher and so the name of the game is staying one step ahead,” said Singapore Sailing Federation President Ben Tan.
“The results show how much depth and breadth our system has. We were up against big countries like China, Japan and Korea, yet Singapore has managed to hold our ground against those big boys,” he said.
For 13-year-old Lai, the triumph comes just four years after she started in the sport, but she has taken it impressively in her stride.
“I am very happy because I won Gold,” she beamed, “I just thought positively and didn’t think about negatives, I just concentrated on doing my best.
“When I came here I just thought about giving my all and then I would see how the result would be,” she added.
Gold medallists Savannah Siew (L) and Kimberly Lim (R) after their races (Photo by Singapore Sailing Federation)
For Lim and Siew, their Gold medal was the perfect end to their partnership as they will now head in separate directions within the team.
Lim is set to sail the 49er FX with Cecilia Low and Siew will move to the bigger 470 class with former windsurfer Amanda Ng.
“It is a really, really good feeling to end off on such a high. This is our last event together and we can’t really describe how it feels,” said Lim.
“There was obviously pressure coming into this event as we didn’t really perform how we wanted at the World Championships and so coming into this we just had to give everything we had. This meant so much for us,” she said.
“It has been an amazing day,” said Siew, whose father Siew Shaw Her sailed in the Olympics.
“It has felt like quite a long day and we are so happy to finish like this. We have worked for so long together, we just know how each other works, we tried our best and we got the results. We will miss each other,” she added.
The Low sisters went into the final day of their competition leading but were pipped to Gold by the Thai pairing of Poonpat Noppakao and Waiwai Nichapa.
“It was really tough day for us because we were leading going into our race and we needed to be in front in every race to win. The Thai girls sailed really, really well. We did our best though - what else can I say?” said a disappointed but still proud Priscilla.