Sports

Now to win at the 2015 SEA Games

BIG IN SAILING: Jodie (centre) after winning gold in the girls’ Optimist event at the Asian Games in Incheon. PHOTO: AFP

She's conquered on two continents, and now, Jodie Lai wants to win in front of her parents, brother, friends, schoolmates, teachers and the rest of Singapore.

The newly-crowned Asian Games girls' Optimist champion is gunning for gold at the 2015 South-east Asia (SEA) Games, which Singapore will host will host from June 5 to 16.

"I'm not really thinking about the Olympics right now. I'm not aiming for the sky or anything, I'm just aiming to do well in the SEA Games next year, and replicate the same performance from the Asian Games," she told The New Paper on Saturday.

TRAINING

The 13-year-old will soon be back in training, which takes place at the National Sailing Centre at East Coast Park.

She trains from Tuesday to Sunday every week - 2.30pm to 7pm on weekdays, and 1pm to 7.30pm on weekends.

The sport currently takes up most of her time.

While her parents are fully behind her, mum Jenny was slightly more apprehensive when asked if sailing would be a viable full-time career for her daughter.

"We'll be right behind her, supporting her all the way, but only if she's really, really passionate about it. For her, it's all about her interest," said mum.

"Sailing is everything to her now, but in a few years, will that still be the case? We can't be too sure."

The ultimate goal is, of course, the Olympics.

The Optimist class is a junior event and does not feature at the Olympics.

Jodie will have to switch boats in 2016 when she turns 15, and she said: "I'd pretty much like to try out 420, because it's a two-person boat, and that's what makes it even more interesting.

"I think the only difference is the way you tie the ropes to the boats, but other than that, technique-wise, it's all the same.

"The only slight difference is the way you steer."

Said dad Terence: "It's all up to her, really. A lot depends on her transition from Optimist class to the two-person boats once she's 15, the chemistry between her and her partner.

"That's something she'll have to figure out on her own.

"A lot of sailors, they start out with small boats on their own, and when they get older, they can't cope with the physical demands of the bigger boats, so they drop out of sailing altogether."