For national canoe coach coach Balazs Babella, Geraldine Lee’s qualification for the 2012 Olympic Games represents fulfillment.
Lee’s place at the London Games has silenced the doubters. It also indicates Babella’s battleplan to boost canoeing in Singapore is working.
Speaking to The New Paper recently, Hungarian Babella, the world champion in the K4 200m in 2005 and 2007, pushed his charges hard with the ultimate goal of developing canoeists with the ability to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Which makes Lee’s achievement - four years early - even sweeter.
The 1.54m-tall paddler will be the first Singaporean canoeist to compete at an Olympics. The former swimmer finished fourth in the K1 500m canoe sprint at last October’s Asian Canoe Sprint Championships in Iran, which served as the continental Olympic qualifier.
The Singapore Canoe Federation endured an eight-month wait before receiving official notification from the International Canoe Federation early last month that Lee would be in the hat at the London Games.
More in The New Paper on Wednesday (July 18).