After Colin CHENG (SIN), 16, and Victoria CHAN (SIN), 15, emerged as the new Laser 4.7 World Champions on Friday, the victories in Bermuda firmly indicate that Singapore is one of the top nations in youth sailing right now, a status they will be aiming to further enhance at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Weymouth, Great Britain this week.
DE CRUZ fought a tight battle to secure the World Champion title against the more experienced 46 year old Sunfish World Champion and one of Bermuda's leading helmsmen Malcolm SMITH, who was merely few points behind him. SMITH needed a top three finish in the last race to win. However his attempt was foiled as DE CRUZ managed to keep his opponent at bay during the final race which almost became a match race between the two title contenders. Both finished in mid fleet with SMITH scoring a twelfth and DE CRUZ a 19th position, one of their worst scores which they are allowed to discard. After three discards, DE CRUZ won with 61 points, SMITH followed second with 68 points and 15-year old Bermudian William HUTCHINGS came in third with 75 points, one point ahead of Singapore's Jonathan Russel CHEW in fourth place.
Overjoyed with his win at his first international regatta, DE CRUZ said, 'I've learnt a lot about the importance of consistency in racing. Sailing a few good races is not enough to win the regatta, staying fit and eating proper are equally imperative to one's performance, especially towards the end of the regatta where everyone is getting very tired.'
Nanyang Girls' High School's Elizabeth YIN performed consistently throughout the regatta, she had guarenteed top girls' position even before the regatta ended with two races to spare. It was a reversal of fortune for YIN and Hana BLORE of Great Britain, defending girls' champion, who finished in twelfth place overall. YIN finished twelfth at the 2005 World Byte Championships in Italy when BLORE was crowned the champion.
The winning team attributed their success to their coaches, KOH Seng Leong and Mabel ONG, who have been coaching the team over the last five months. KOH and ONG are two of the pioneer highly trained national sailors turned coaches who are now passing on their expertise to the younger sailors.
Executive Director of Singapore Sailing Federation Andrew SANDERS reflected, 'The sailors improved tremendously throughout the regatta in understanding what is required to be a champion. Gradually, they learned the importance of a proper diet and gained better understanding of the professionalism required for them in a world Championship and once they understood what it took to win, they went from strength to strength.
'Our sailors' recent performances in the international arena have been very encouraging. Five World Championships titles [boys and girls] in the span of one year, winning the Youth Worlds in the 420 boys division, Laser 4.7 Worlds and now the Byte Worlds [boys and girl]) and we are now anticipating another win in the North American Optimist Championships where Sean LEE is leading the 189 strong competition. This shows that young home grown Singapore sailors are amongst the world's best. Our plan now is to carry forward to the Olympic level where I believe we will be equally successful in a few years' time.'
The regatta started out with light wind conditions on the first day and subsequently increased to gusting conditions of twelve to 18 knots. There were 33 sailors from seven countries competing in the Championships.
Top Ten Results
|1||SIN||Nicholas DE CRUZ||(14)||6||2||(11)||1||4||10||8||3||2||3||2||5||5||1||2||7||(19)||61|
|5||BER||Stephen DICKINSON||6||17||3||15||(20)||5||(34) DNF||4 RDG||2||4||7||3||3||4||5||6||(22)||1||85|
|6||SIN||Elizabeth YIN||2||12||9||1||(19)||7||12||3||12||1||6||5||(16)||9||7||9||3||(34) DNF||98|
|7||BER||Cameron PIMENTEL||7||(24)||13||3||8||16||17||10||1||6||8||(34) DNF||2||2||3||5||4||(20)||105|
|8||SIN||Michael SHEN||9||8||(20)||10||11||(15)||(34) DNF||9||4||7||2||6||4||10||4||10||11||2||107|
|9||BER||Oliver RIIHILUOMA||18||23||4||(34) DNF||10||3||(34) OCS||4||8||12||9||1||1||6||(34) OCS||3||15||7||124|