No plain sailing for Singapore's Olympic debutant Ryan Lo
S'pore sailor's Olympic debut comes after long road of sacrifices, ups and downs
The road to the Olympics would not be complete without ups and downs, caveats and sacrifices.
For Singapore sailor Ryan Lo, not only did it mean having to put his university studies on hold since completing national service in 2018, but he has also been overseas for long periods over the past few years.
While the 24-year-old has missed home, having been based in Europe since February, he also keeps focus on his larger goal - his Olympic debut.
"Not being home for long is something not ideal but necessary in my preparations for the Olympics," Lo, who has been training in Split, Croatia, told The New Paper.
Conditions in Europe are ideal for sailing races, especially since he is able to test himself against the best.
Lo, who competes in the Laser class, said: "I have been very fortunate to be able to come to Europe to train and compete with the top sailors in the world, so my training preparations are going well in the lead up to the Games."
The Olympics have been his target for the past five years, but it was not all smooth sailing.
Lo missed opportunities to qualify for the Tokyo Games at the World Championships in Denmark in 2018, where he finished 79th out of 165 competitors, and at the same year's Asian Games, where he won a bronze medal but was unable to secure the only Olympic spot on offer.
Lo, who won a SEA Games gold medal in the Philippines in 2019, missed out on an Olympic spot again at the World Championships in Japan that year.
Following that, he had to endure a lengthy wait.
The next Olympic qualifier - last year's Asian Sailing Championships - was postponed twice due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But he finally booked his ticket to Tokyo in April after winning the Mussanah Open Championship in Oman.
"There was some uncertainty, which was a bit stressful, but in the end, the postponement of the Olympics itself helped me improve significantly, so it definitely worked out for me," he said.
When asked about his concerns regarding the Games, Lo said he was slightly worried about the heat and humidity, but remained confident in the pandemic-related safety measures put in place by local authorities.
SAILORS IN TOKYO
He won't be the only Singaporean sailor when the Olympic sailing competition starts on July 25 at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour, about 50km south-west of Tokyo.
The Republic will also be represented by Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low, who compete in the women's 49er FX class, and windsurfer Amanda Ng, who is in the women's RS:X class.
Lo is proud to fly the Republic's flag at the Olympics, saying: "It's a great honour to represent Singapore at one of, if not the pinnacle of sports events.
"I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to make a small country like Singapore known and hopefully make the whole nation proud."