Golden finish for Optimist sailor Daniel
He arrived in Hong Kong on Sept 24 to prepare for the Asian and Oceanian Optimist Championship, six days before the competition started, and "a few days" earlier than his teammates.
Singapore sailor Muhammad Daniel Kei Muhammad Yazid had won the same regatta last year, and was determined to bag back-to-back victories.
The extra effort worked, as Daniel retained his title yesterday with 48 points nett from 10 races, ahead of Turkey's second-placed Demir Dirik (64 points).
China's Lin Xilun was third with 65 points, while Singapore's Faith Hailey Toh was the top girl overall in the mixed regatta, finishing 10th with 123 points.
Said Daniel, 13, in a phone interview from Hong Kong: "My motivation was really that I was aiming to win this event and retain my title, to make up for the setback at the World Championships earlier this year."
Along with his teammates, the Victoria School student had failed to win a medal in July's Optimist World Championships in Thailand.
It was the first time in 11 editions the Republic failed to land a title in that regatta.
Daniel said: "Defending the title (in Hong Kong) was harder than winning it.
"There was more pressure and much more expectations from people around me... but I coped with it by focusing on my tasks and not on the distractions.
"With the win, I definitely would say I have proven myself... although the world championships and the Asian championship are very different competitions."
The win is a fitting swansong for Daniel, who will move on to the double-handed 420 class after this, although he can still compete in the Under-16 Optimist class.
Daniel, who started sailing when he was five, said the reason behind the switch is to "learn new things".
He will train with his father, also a sailor, before his brother Ryan Sei, who is two years younger than him, joins them at the end of the year.
As a pair, the brothers will be aiming to make the Youth Worlds in the US next July.
Daniel said: "We will use the 420 as a stepping stone to the (bigger) 470 class, and try to do our best as a partnership."