The IODA Asian Championship which opened Monday in Langkawi, Malaysia has smashed all entry records in the 19 year history of the event.
The 121 sailors, the 25 nations, the 87 Asian sailors and the 14 Asian nations are all new records.
Teams are limited to seven sailors for Asian and Oceania countries (two teams for the hosts) and three sailors for countries on other continents. The new records are probably influenced by the fact that this will also be the venue for the 2010 IODA World Championship but also reflect the booming growth of Optimist sailing in Asia.
Growing too is the competence of Asian sailors at world level. Five of the Asian participants in Langkawi finished in the top 13 at last summer's Worlds and after five races it is no surprise to see Noppakao Poonpat of Thailand in the lead: at last year's Worlds she finished fourth overall.
Wednesday will see individual racing suspended for the Team Racing Championship where current World Champions China can be expected to face some hot competition.
More details can be found at www.optiworld.org