S'pore sailor Cheng doing as well as can be expected at Asiad
Colin Cheng has been, quite literally, all at sea for the past two months.
He was training in Santander, Spain, since late July to acclimatise himself with the conditions there, ahead of the Isaf Sailing World Championships at the same location.
The work for the regatta, from Sept 8 to 21, paid off, as the 25-year-old Laser sailor booked Singapore its first slot in the sport at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Cheng, who was the best Asian finisher in the event at the 2012 London Olympics, then took a trans-continental flight to Incheon to do battle in the Asian Games, where he is currently third in his class on 25 points after 10 races, with two to go.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, sailing team manager Terence Koh said: "It has been pretty hectic for Colin so far. He arrived just in time for his boat's measurements to be taken, and he has not had time to acclimatise himself to the conditions here, except for the official practice sessions."
The University of New South Wales undergraduate has one win so far, finishing third in both his races yesterday.
South Korea's Ha Jee Min tops the 12-sailor field with 13 points, including six wins, while Malaysia's Mohd Afendy Khairulnizam is second on 17 points.
"I suppose the South Korean has been training at the venue ever since Incheon was announced as the Games host, and he also skipped the recent World Championships, so I would expect him to be well-adapted to the conditions," said Koh, who is also SingaporeSailing's head of high performance.
Besides Cheng, the men's 420 pair of Loh Jia Yi and Jonathan Yeo are also in medal contention at the Asian Games, lying third after 10 races, while the Republic are leading in three classes - 420 girls, Optimist girls and 29er women - with two days of racing to go.
In particular, the 420 pair of Kimberly Lim and Savannah Siew are strong contenders for the gold medal - they have five wins in 10 races and have not finished out of the top three so far.
Also, Singapore are fourth in the Laser Radial (Elizabeth Yin), Optimist boys (Raynn Kwok) and women's RS: One (Audrey Yong).
All these sailors will take a break from competition at the Wangsan Sailing Marina today.
But Singapore's match-racing team - comprising Maximilian Soh, Andrew Paul Chan, Russell Kan, Christopher Lim and Justin Wong - will be in action as they take on Malaysia, Bahrain, Japan, India, South Korea and China.
The quintet won all five of their races yesterday.