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Sailing set for biggest show in Games history

by By Channel News Asia20 April 2015 Last updated at 09:32 AM

VTV.vn - Singapore Sailing Federation chief executive officer is still expecting a good show even though some sailing events may be scrapped from the schedule of the 28th SEA Games

Five sailing events may be scrapped from the schedule of the 28th SEA Games that Singapore will host from June 5 to 16, but it will not stop the Lion City from organising the biggest sailing regatta in the 56-year-old history of the biennial multi-sport event.

Sailing is expected to play a big part in Team Singapore’s gold medal hopes and they could be dented if fewer than the planned 20 events eventually take place. For a race to run at the Games, the rules require the participation of at least four National Olympic Committees (NOCs).

Organiser Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee (SINGSOC) has not revealed the affected events, but reports have indicated they include the women’s 470, Under-19 Laser Radial, 49er FX, Laser Radial team and men’s Laser Standard team. Among other sports, floorball, women’s shot put, 400m hurdles and men’s javelin have also not attracted the minimum number of participating NOCs.

With less than two months to go, the door is still open for various NOCs to submit entries to keep them on the calendar, said SINSOC executive committee chairman Lim Teck Yin last week.

The sailing competition is scheduled to have eight more events than at Myanmar two years ago and Singapore Sailing Federation (SSF) chief executive officer Tan Wearn Haw still expects a good show even if it is trimmed down by events that do not have enough participants.

“Our counterpart NOCs are looking to field more entries and we are also waiting for the update,” said Tan. “In any case, it will already be the largest sailing event in SEA Games history. For the events that have not met the minimum number of NOCs, I am looking forward to at least one more country to send entries for them to take place.”

But it could be a blow for at least two of the Republic’s best gold medal prospects, Savannah Siew and Bernie Chin, if their respective women’s 470 and men’s under-19 laser radial races are excluded.

Both said they were advised by the SSF “there was nothing to worry” and have kept their noses to the grindstone to prepare for their races.

Said Bernie, who won gold in the Byte CII Class at last year’s Youth Olympics in Nanjing: “Regardless of the outcome, I will still be focused on training as there are many other events this year.”

If the 15-year-old competes, he expects stiff challenge from Malaysian and Thailand sailors, but relishes the opportunity to hone his skills on local waters. “They have strong sailors coming from there and I am sure that there will be intense competition at the Games. What matters more is what I learn from competing, what experience I gain to make myself a better sailor,” he added.

Siew, who won gold at last year’s Asian Games in Incheon and at the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar, thirsts to finally have home support after years of competing overseas.

But the 18-year-old, who will have Amanda Ng as partner in the 470 event, is cautious about winning her race: “We hope to do our country proud. It definitely helps knowing our winds and waters better than the other competitors. But we definitely cannot over rely on this small advantage because our competitors will be able to figure out the conditions too.”

Although Thailand are always a threat, high performance coach Terence Koh is confident the Republic’s sailors will deliver.

“We don’t have a specific medal tally aim,” Koh told TODAY. “It is easy for me to say I want 20 medals, but I am not the one sailing, the sailors are and they have been training hard and I have confidence in their abilities to perform and do us proud.

“Our strengths are quite varied throughout all the race classes and we don’t have a consistent arch-rival that is always up against us.”

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