Windsurfer Yong heading to Rio on unused quota
SEA Games champ gets nod for Rio after S'pore awarded unused quota in women's RS:X
She had "semi-retired" in March, after failing in her Olympic qualification campaign, and was going to put sport on the backburner and focus on her studies and career.
But windsurfer Audrey Yong told The New Paper last week - on the sidelines of the Singapore Sailing Federation's (SSF) awards gala night, where she scooped the Sailor of the Year award - that she will be back in the sport; it was just a matter of when.
The 21-year-old is set to make a return to the sea soon, and on the biggest stage of them all - the Olympics.
Yesterday, it was confirmed that the 2010 Youth Olympian was given a slot in the women's RS:X event in Rio, and will be the first female windsurfer from the Republic to compete at the Olympics.
She received the news on Wednesday night, but had to think through it before saying "yes".
Yong said: "I was shocked when I got the call, we weren't too far off in the London 2012 qualifiers, but didn't get the (unused quota) slot then.
"But I had to think about it; I intended to return to windsurfing after completing my studies and bond in about two years, but my school, my employers and the federation were very supportive of my eventual decision to go for it," added the 2010 YOG bronze medallist and last year's South-east Asia Games gold medallist.
Singapore was awarded an unused quota slot by World Sailing, based on Nicole Lim's 26th-placed Silver-fleet finish at last year's world championships.
Lim did not continue with her campaign, and the SSF nominated Yong, the only athlete in her class to go through the qualifying campaign and the nomination was accepted by the Singapore National Olympic Council.
Lim said: "I am happy to have been able to play a part in securing a place for Singapore (at the Olympics).
"Audrey has worked very hard and all her efforts are now converting to progress. I am extremely happy for her and wish her the best of luck in her Olympic campaign."
Yong will join nine sailors in six classes, including men's RS:X sailor Leonard Ong, in Rio, along with 12 athletes in five other sports, with at least three more athletes from swimming and athletics to be included.
SSF's head of performance Chua Tan Ching was Yong's coach in 2010 when she won a bronze in the inaugural YOG.
Chua said: "In 2010, we revamped the windsurfing programme to revitalise the sport and to inject new energy into it. Today, we have two Olympic tickets in windsurfing - I am immensely proud!"
Yong stopped her hotel management internship yesterday and will start training today towards the Olympics.
She said: "Training time will be very short and I will do my best to get back my fitness but, at the same time, I will be careful not to overdo it and get injured.
"Mentally, it's going to be very taxing, but I do miss windsurfing and the feeling of being in the team.
"And I hope this (Leonard and I going to Olympics) will help raise awareness for windsurfing because we really want to do that for our sport."