Youth Olympic Games Medals Decided in Singapore
The Youth Olympic Games have been widely acclaimed as an outstanding success and Singapore have been wonderful hosts.
On an overcast but warm day at the National Sailing Centre it was an anxious wait in the morning for the wind to build on medal race day. However the wind gods rallied and delivered a light and shifty 6 - 8 knot breeze that was just sufficient to complete the medal races to schedule.
Girls Techno 293
Thailand's golden girl Siripon Kaewduang-Ngam sailed to windsurfing victory to claim the first medal of the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. Kaewduang-Ngam sailed a conservative race and despite a fourth-place finish in the medal race she sailed a magnificent series that has included five consecutive race wins.
She described her feelings in the medal race.
"Just keep myself calm, don't get too excited so that I won't get panicked. Just thinking about passing the finishing line and not thinking about anything else."
As she stepped ashore she said, "I'm very proud of myself and I'm very proud of my country."
"It's a lot of good experience and I've got to know a lot of friends. I've found out what it's like to win and lose. Losing is also important. If you can take victory you must also be able to take defeat."
Veronica Fanciulli (ITA) won the final race of the regatta and sealed the silver medal in the process. Fancuilli had sailed a consistent series improving on the last two days.
Singapore's Audrey Pei Lin Yong came third in the final race, which meant she clinched bronze and edged 2010 World Champion Naomi Cohen (ISR) out of medal contention by three points.
When Yong reached the shore it seemed like the whole of Singapore had come to greet her, the volunteers all screamed and the local party began.
"The pressure was a lot but being able to deliver feels really, really good. Overall, it was intense but I'm glad my efforts paid off."
"It's pretty damn awesome winning a medal! And I told myself to go all out since it is the last race. 'The race of my life,' my coach said."
Girls Byte Cll
Austria's Lara Vadlau did what was needed to clinch gold in the Girls' Byte class. The 16-year-old finished fourth in the medal race to give her 27 points, a lead of 14 over silver medallist Daphne Van der Vaart from the Netherlands.
Vadlau was unable to contain her excitement on reaching the shore with her coach already onboard her boat.
"It was not easy but I did it, I feel unbelievably, great, I want to scream. I came here just for the gold medal and I've trained hard. I've had a feeling I've never had before."
Van der Vaart placed second on the day, which was enough to move her up into silver overall.
"I feel great, I'm so happy, I mean I had three discards so I'm so happy that I climbed up again. Three days ago I was at tenth place I can't believe it."
"My parents even know, I called them on the water! It's a holiday but they followed me on twitter and they already knew, I can't believe it."
Constanze Stolz of Germany endured her worst day of the entire series. She got yellow flagged down the run and finished in 21st place in the medal race. She reached the shore still unsure as to whether she had lost the bronze medal. But when she learnt she had beaten Celine Carlsen (DEN) by just one point she was ecstatic.
"It was pretty bad for me today, I'm angry with myself a bit, and sad, I think I finished 20 something because I got a second yellow flag and I don't know where the Danish girl finished."
"I'm still happy about my regatta, all the things I've been known for here and such a great time here in Singapore."
Boys Byte Cll
Virgin Islander Ian Barrows sailed to gold in the boy's Byte CII class. Barrows had hit the front on the penultimate day of the regatta and made certain of success with a third-place finish in the medal race.
His score of 44 points gave him a 16-point margin of victory over Germany's Florian Haufe, who claimed silver.
Netherlands Antilles' sailor Just Van Aanholt clinched bronze after winning the race on the last day, shading out Finland's Kaarle Tapper by four points.
Barrows stayed very focused to the end as he maturely describes,
"You've just got to stay really focused and not get too caught up in the results and not get too nervous. I had really good boat speed on the upwind and tactics, so that helped a lot and I was super conservative."
Silver medalist Haufe described his day,
"I concentrated on the Finish competitor because he was the closest but after the start I was well ahead and just going for the finish as fast as possible."
"The best thing about the YOG has been the friendship amongst the competitors even today when it was really close and we were fighting for a medal, I was still friends with the Finnish and the other guys, it was nice to have so many friends here."
Just van Aanholt made it two Caribbean nation medals on the podium and was proud of his experience in Singapore.
"I feel very happy, at one moment I was looking back all the time, I'm just very happy. I think I'm going to celebrate with all my friends."
"The Caribbean sailors are having a very good generation!"
Boys Techno 293
Long-time competition leader Mayan Rafic (ISR) won the Boys Techno 293 gold medal finishing nine points ahead of Michael Chun Leung Cheng (HKG), who took the silver.
Great Britain's Kieran Martin won the medal race on the final day, to pick up the bronze medal by three points from Chaneui Kim (KOR).
The popular Israeli had made many friends during the Youth Olympic Games and was barely able to contain his joy on reaching the shore.
"It's unbelievable, I don't have any words to describe it, it's great, great, great!
"When I went over the finish line, everyone was clapping, it was an amazing feeling."
The battle for silver came down to the wire but Cheng just pipped Martin by a single point. When he reached the beach he didn't know what colour medal he had won.
"I'm very happy with the result I don't know exactly what I got but I'm just happy to get a medal."
The official medal ceremony took place on the foreshore of the Singapore National Sailing Centre. All competitors were presented with their own photos of themselves in action on the water, a real momento of a superb regatta. The thousands of volunteers that had worked so tirelessly throughout these Youth Olympic Games came to cheer the friends they had made and the atmosphere was an unforgetable experience.