Muhammad Daniel is Singapore's second successive Asian Optimist champ
Optimist sailor's win at Asian meet makes it two in a row for Singapore
Muhammad Daniel flew Singapore's flag high yesterday when he was crowned champion at the International Optimist Dinghy Association Asian & Oceanian Championships at Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.
His win gave Singapore back-to-back titles in the competition, after Daniel Hung, 15, won it in Doha, Qatar, last year.
Other Singaporean sailors fared well, too.
Teammate Daniel Ian Toh, 14, clinched a podium finish by placing second out of 112 competitors.
Jodie Lai finished fourth overall, but topped the girls' category.
The Singaporean team, comprising Muhammad, Daniel Hung, Daniel Ian Toh, Raynn Kwok and Jodie finished second, behind Malaysia, in the team event.
"Winning the top girl's title was not easy for me," Jodie said.
"I feel very grateful towards my parents, coaches, friends and many others for their constant support and encouragement throughout this whole competition, without whom none of my accomplishments would have been possible."
Jodie also holds the world title, after trouncing the field with a huge 47-point win at last year's Optimist World Championships in Dziwnow, Poland, where the Singaporean contingent also won the team category.
Chua Tan Ching, head of performance at the Singapore Sailing Federation, is delighted with the squad's display in Sri Lanka.
He said: "They did well in the process of their whole programme and achieved a credible performance.
"It's fantastic because it just goes to show that it's part and parcel of reaching their goal - which was to go there to perform to the best of their ability and beyond.
"They have shown that they are capable of doing exactly that."
Chua is also heartened by the sailors' passion for the sport, which he believes put them in good stead for bigger competitions ahead.
The 52-year-old said: "We have pathways in place for those who want a greater challenge and for those want to showcase their abilities in a global way through the regional games or Olympics.
"But first and foremost we want them to enjoy their sailing because in this sport if they do not have the passion, whatever steps we have in place will not be successful.
"I can see that they are definitely enjoying themselves and they are very happy to be competing there."