Asian Youth Games

Competition in the sailing events at the first Asian Youth Games Singapore got underway today, with young hopefuls looking to make their mark in the equipment and venue to be used for next year's Youth Olympic Games.

Sailing's practice race, held a day before the actual event, turned out to be an accurate dress rehearsal in all aspects - including the race postponement part! The wind seemed to be having a good laugh at us as it blew in at almost exactly the same time from the start as it did for the practice race. Racing managed to kick off smoothly on both courses, however. The Bic Technos on course Bravo put in two races, while on course Alpha, a third race was squeezed in, bringing both Byte CII fleets a race ahead of schedule.

Boys Windsurfer – Techno 293

It's been a very consistent day across the fleet for the Bic Techno boys. Wei BIPENG of China pulled off two bullets, putting him at the top of the charts, two points ahead of Korea's Kim CHANEUI, who with seconds in both races is number two overall. Wei's aim for the regatta was to finish in the top three. While it is still early in the regatta to determine anything with certainty, he is still a step closer to his goal!

Down the rest of the fleet, Kwok Tsz HIM from Hong Kong finished the day third and Vantana NAKARET of Thailand fourth. Both were third and fourth respectively in both races. Singapore's Chuah Jun LER finished sixth, tied on points with Shasha Krishna MURTI of Indonesia and Kuramochi DAIYA of Japan.

Girls Windsurfer – Techno 293

In the Bic Techno girls fleet, there was intense competition between Siripon KAEWDUANG-NGAM of Thailand and China's Hao XIUMEI for the top spot. With a first and a second each, both are currently tied on points. China started with a first, but Thailand had her number in the second, closing down on her competitor once in the lead to ensure China stayed well behind. Man Ka KEI of Hong Kong finished third in both races, and Singapore's Audrey YONG came in a consistent fourth. Singapore's windsurfing coach, Chua TAN-CHING, remains optimistic, however. "We're getting closer to the rest of the competition, which is the main thing!" he said. Singapore's windsurfers are still relatively new to the class, having only made the switch from dinghy to board sailing late last year.

Boys One Person Dinghy – Byte II

It was a good day for Darren CHOY of Singapore, who managed to pull off not one but three wins with a sizeable lead in each one. "Excellent!" commented a jubilant Serena WONG, sailing team manager for Singapore. "A great start to the regatta!" CHOY's performance today gives him a solid five-point lead over second-placed Thailand. Supakon PONGWICHEAT actually rounded the top mark first in the last race, but a difficult second work relegated the Thai to fourth, bringing his scores to 2, 2, and 4. In third place is Lu TIANHONG from China at 12 points. Byte coach for Singapore, Mark PLUMMER, is understandably pleased. "Darren has a good day, and Najwa sailed well. It's early days, though," he cautioned.

Girls One Person Dinghy – Byte II

Najwa JUMALI kicked off the regatta well with a win in the first race for the Byte girls fleet. Singapore's representative kept her cool despite a freak gust and waterspout caused by a passing aeroplane halfway up the first leg. While the sudden change in wind pressure and direction capsized many sailors, JUMALI managed to overcome the challenge and emerge well ahead at the top mark. It was Jittiwa THANAWITWILAT who won the day, however, with her consistency. Two seconds and a first were enough for the Thai girl to place first overall with five points. THANAWITWILAT is also no stranger to the conditions in Singapore. "I came to Singapore to race once a year for three years," she said.

Second overall went to Gu MIN of China, whose progressively improving scores brought her to six points by the end of the day. It has been an exciting first day of racing. Races three and four for the windsurfers and four and five for the Bytes are scheduled for tomorrow, 1 July.

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