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Sailors’ Youth Olympics success could help Olympic push

Sailors Bernie Chin and Samantha Yom's wins will inspire their seniors, and could provide an important boost towards the long-term target of winning an Olympic medal, says IOC member Ng Ser Miang.

SINGAPORE: The success of Singapore’s sailors at the recent Youth Olympics in Nanjing will inspire their seniors, said Mr Ng Ser Miang, the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Finance Commission chief who also chaired the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee.

He believes the gold medals won by Bernie Chin and Samantha Yom in the men’s and women’s Byte CII – Singapore’s first golds in the history of the Youth Olympics – can provide an important boost towards the long-term target of winning an Olympic medal.

“It was really amazing and a proud moment for all of us,” said Mr Ng at a celebratory dinner for the sailors on Thursday (Sep 4). “It was a team effort. (Singapore Sailing Federation) has built a base and will continue to strengthen the base, and now we can truly look forward to an Olympic medal.”

SSF president Benedict Tan told TODAY that success at the Youth Olympics was one of many milestones in the federation’s pathway to the Olympics. The SSF’s strategy was to keep both sailors in the Laser 4.7 class instead of the Byte CII to keep them on the path towards the Laser Radial and Laser Standard Olympic classes, which gave them the opportunity to compete against higher-calibre sailors.

“The milestones are junior, youth and senior level. We are strong in the junior in the optimist, and are stamping our authority at the youth level at the Youth Olympics and World Youth Championships, but the leap from youth to senior is a big one,” said Mr Tan.

“They have to be prepared for the long haul. Sailing is about experience. They must commit for a few Olympic cycles.”

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