Sailors Kimberly Lim, Cecilia Low improvise to overcome limitations
Olympic-bound Lim, Low back to the waters today, devising creative ways to increase intensity and quality
National sailors Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low are well-versed in the art of steering course and weathering the storm.
Away from the seas, the Olympic-bound pair have also been constantly navigating the tides of change, since Tokyo 2020 was postponed to next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The duo will finally be able to take to the waters today, after the Singapore Sailing Federation obtained clearance from the National Parks Board, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and Ministry of Trade & Industry.
Lim, 23, and Low, 29, are among some 30 Singapore athletes who have been allowed to resume training from last Tuesday, having qualified or are close to qualifying for the Olympics.
"I'm very grateful and excited to get back on the water," said Lim. "It has been about 2½ months away from sailing and, with the Games in sight, we are very eager to hone our craft."
Lim and Low had planned a three-month training programme in Europe earlier this year, which included regattas in Spain and France.
But they had to abandon their plans due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused global sports to grind to a halt.
They returned to Singapore from their training base in Cascais, Portugal, on March 18 and had been restricted to just home-based fitness training.
Training on local waters may be less than ideal due to the calmer waves, but the duo have improvised to make up for the less favourable sailing conditions.
When asked how they would go about sharpening their skillset under such circumstances, they pointed out that there were many aspects that they could work on.
"We have to get back our sailing fitness with some high intensity drills, (such as) steering, trimming, boat handling... and also work on our communication," said Low.
The 2018 Asian Games champions in the 49erFX skiff class have devised creative means to increase the intensity and quality of their training as a way for compensating for the lack of waves and strong winds.
"For instance, we can use marks to make small courses to increase the rate of manoeuvring done in a short span of time. That will easily increase intensity," said Lim.
"Or we could also set moving marks and, with them drifting randomly, we would be constantly kept on our toes while executing manoeuvres."
The duo, who are both Spex scholars, intend to have about three to four sessions of water training a week.
Like other athletes who have been allowed to resume training, they have also been briefed on safe management measures.
These include physical distancing, temperature-taking, utilising the TraceTogether and SafeEntry apps for contract tracing and mask-wearing when not engaged in strenuous activities.
"It is similar to measures taken to enter the supermarket - entry only from the main gate...," said Lim.
Added Low: "The federation has also added more safety measures like no showers and meals allowed in the centre.
"Also, to minimise contact with people, we will leave home for only training at the sailing centre and go back home immediately after, and be more efficient in launching and recovery from the water."
A return to water training today will mark another watershed moment in their Games preparation, which has been punctuated with disruptions.
While thrilled to be sailing again, Lim said they are hoping to return to their Cascais base, when possible.
"Yes, we would be looking to go overseas to train as soon as travel conditions permit. That would be ideal for our training," she said. "With boats, sailing conditions and logistics involved, returning to Portugal would be better. Till then, we will train here."