They're both on the same page
Big gap in experience is no handicap for sailors Tan and Yap as they eye podium finish
They were the duo who won Singapore a gold medal at the 2nd Asian Para Games in Incheon in 2014.
Two years on, a bigger stage awaits sailors Jovin Tan and Yap Qian Yin as part of Singapore's 13-strong contingent for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
The Games officially begin with tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) opening ceremony, but Tan and Yap will have to wait till Sept 12 before beginning their quest to do the nation proud in the two-person Skud-18 category.
The two may be on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to experience on the global stage, with Tan set for his fourth Paralympics appearance while his partner is about to make her debut, having been named as a replacement following the withdrawal of Desiree Lim.
But, apart from that difference, it is evident that they both are very much on the same page, from the way they complete each other's sentences to their frequent good-natured jibes at one another.
Come the start of next week, their shared focus will be channelled to one goal: Flying the flag high for their country all the way over in Brazil.
"Every time you wear the Singapore flag, it gives you that sense of pride and makes you feel that all the hard work has paid off," Tan told The New Paper in an interview before they departed for Rio de Janeiro.
"I'm a little more experienced as this is my fourth Paralympic Games but each time is different, so I'm really excited to go there and do my best.
"At the same time, we're not trying to put too much pressure on ourselves as we'll perform better if we're more relaxed."
Interestingly, Tan was not only the one who introduced the sport to Yap, but they also work at the same human resources company and the former jokes that his salary is dependent on his partner, given her role in the accounts department.
It is this understanding and friendship they have built that both believe will be key to their prospects of success at the Games.
"Along the way, he has not only been a mentor but we're also friends and colleagues and, as time goes on, the relationship and chemistry also improve," recounted the 26-year-old Yap.
Tan added: "It's about learning and understanding each other's characters and then focusing on our respective strengths rather than our limitations.
"Qian Yin has done extremely well to pick this up so fast because she's completely new to this boat and we only started intensive training in July."
While the two have made a conscious effort not to place too much pressure on their shoulders, one man who will be pushing them all the way is their coach, Edward Yow, who believes there is no point turning up if the aim is not to win a medal at the very least.
"A lot of sports administrators always talk about just doing your personal best but, if you don't push yourself, then you'll never win," said the 66-year-old, who has been coaching since 2000.
"If we go there without the intention of winning, then why bother?
"Everyone who goes must have medal potential and then, if we do our best and make the least mistakes, we should be able to get there.
"The team understand that, in this sport, you're not racing against the other sailors but yourselves."
High hope for sell-out
Organisers of the 2016 Rio Paralympics said on Monday that 1.5 million tickets had been sold and they hope that all 2.5 million will go.
The Games have been overshadowed by financial worries and the slow sale of tickets.
But organisers have reported a dramatic turnaround in sales since the end of the Rio Olympics on Aug 21.
At that stage, only 300,000 tickets had been sold. But, on Monday, organisers said in a statement the "Games achieved an important milestone as it reached 1.5 million tickets sold".
They added: "While there are still around one million tickets available, the rhythm of sales suggests that all the 2.5 million tickets will be sold."
The Games start tomorrow morning (Singapore time) with more than 4,300 para-athletes scheduled to take part in 22 sports.