Audrey Yong in action - Photo Credit: Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee / Action Images via Reuters
Singapore’s gold medal winner, Audrey Yong Pei Lin had a tough opponent to beat in the Windsurfing RSX race on Wednesday - her nerves.
The 20-year-old Yong went to bed last night knowing she had just a one-point advantage over her Thai opponent Siripon Kaewduang ahead of the fourth and final day of competition.
“It was kind of stressful to know that I was just one point ahead - I was really stressed and nervous this morning,” she said after her triumph.
“So I did something out of normal - I went to see my psychologist. She asked what stresses me the most and I told it was watching the wind. So she got me to hide in a container - just to calm myself down. I sat there quietly and just hydrated ahead of the race,” added Yong.
It may have been an unorthodox approach - but it clearly worked and brought Singapore its first windsurfing gold in 26 years.
“When I got out on the water, everything was routine, my coach told me to just do what I do well and to just focus on that - go for it and fight for it,” she said.
“It has been a long time since we had a gold medal and to get it on home ground was extra special,” she added.
Youg, who has been windsurfing for around seven years, showed her talent with a bronze medal in the Youth Olympic Games in 2010 and she has been focused intensely on the SEA Games for the past half-year as she aimed to improve on her bronze from 2011.
“We spent the last two months away from Singapore. There was the World Cup in Spain and the overseas training - a month in Spain then to China. This time was really more intense - and it paid off,” she said.
Her years of training and competing in the sport have, of course, brought with them some sacrifices.
“I’ve missed out family time, friends, eating Singaporean food,” she said with a smile.
“I’m not sure whether I will continue to compete - I’ve been putting off school and I also have a scholarship with a hotel,’ she said, adding that her career goal involves hotel management.
Whatever she decides about her future Yong won’t forget this SEA Games in a hurry.
“It was a special day, all my family and friends were there to support me along with the fans and my team-mates,” she said.
And the gold medal she wears around her neck proves that there is plenty that can be achieved even against the odds.
“I’m quite small in size, not ideal for my class of board but I learnt even if you are not an ideal size you can still do well.”