Singapore sailors exact revenge on Malaysia
Singaporean trio beat hosts to men's team racing Laser Standard title to avenge 2015 defeat
Two years ago, Malaysia shocked Singapore by pipping the 2015 SEA Games hosts to the men's team racing Laser Standard title.
Yesterday, Singapore returned the favour in Langkawi, where the trio of Ryan Lo, 20, Mark Wong, 22, and Bernie Chin, 18, beat Malaysia in the final to win the gold medal.
It was the sailors' first title at the biennial Games, which are hosted by Malaysia this year.
The victory must have tasted especially sweet for Lo, who was part of the trio that lost to the Malaysians in the 2015 edition.
Lo's teammates at the time consisted of Colin Cheng, widely considered among the best in Asia after finishing as the continent's best-placed Laser sailor at the 2012 London Olympics, and Scott Glen Sydney, who was Cheng's long-time competitor in local selection events.
Lo was also already an accomplished sailor then, having won medals in youth regattas at the world and European levels in the Laser Radial, before the 2015 Games at home.
He told The New Paper last evening: "The final was very intense because the first team to win two races would win the gold medal.
"We had a game plan going into the final and we simply stuck to it. Every man knew what he had to do."
Wong added: "It was a really close final. We just sailed the best we did and, at the end of the day, we made fewer mistakes than they did.
"We are definitely happy with how we sailed today, (but) there are still a few things that we want to brush up on."
WAIT ON WATER
The two teams had to play a waiting game on the water, with a gap of 45 minutes to an hour between the two races due to shifting wind conditions, amid temperatures of up to 38 deg C.
Lo said: "We were talking to our coaches during that time for advice and doing our own warm-up on water so that our muscles don't relax."
Singapore topped the double round-robin stage on Monday with three wins - two over Thailand and one over Malaysia. The hosts secured their spot in yesterday's final with two wins from four races.
The Singapore trio of Simone Chen, Jillian Lee and Jessica Goh featured in the women's team racing Laser Radial final, but collected the silver after they were beaten by Thailand.
Also, the mixed Optimist team of Daniel Kei Yazid, Finian Lee, Max Teo, Roh Koh and Radiance Koh finished third after beating Myanmar in the bronze-medal showdown.
Sailing team manager and Singapore Sailing Federation's head of performance Chua Tan Ching said: "It is a great start to the competition, having three podium finishes in three events.
"The teams put in a massive effort today and were pushing the envelope in what they could control.
"Looking ahead, there are more events to go and we've started on the correct note."