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19 April 2006, 10:49 am
Singaporeans Break With Tradition
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Optimist South American Championship 2006
Cartagena, Colombia

For the first time in its 33 year history a non-American won the 194 boat Optimist Open South American Championship in Cartagena, Colombia. Singapore's Timothy SEET of benefited from the second discard after the final race to beat his team mate, reigning Asian champion Sean LEE (SIN), by a margin of just four points.
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In two high quality performances both sailors scoring sixth or better in all twelve races.

The championship has been won on a number of occasions by North Americans, most notably twice in the 1980s by USA Laser Olympian Mark MENDELBLATT, but never by a non-American. The win is a further step in the rise of Asian youth sailing demonstrated by the Optimist Worlds gold taken by Wei NI (CHN) in 2004 and the ISAF Youth Worlds gold medal won by the Singapore boys 420 team of Wee Chin TEO and Terence KOH (SIN) last year.

Further evidence of the rise is that the girls' gold and overall bronze was taken by Rufina TAN of Malaysia and girls' silver by Griselda KHNG (SIN).

Singapore also won the Team Racing Championship, defeating Mexico in the final.

Amongst the South American entrants, 2004 champion Edgar DIMINICH of Ecuador lost out on countback to his younger compatriot Jonathan MARTINETTI (ECU). Manfredo FINCK (URU) was third.

International Optimist Dinghy Association (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Singapore's Timothy SEET:© Dino GUEVARA
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