S'pore saillors win four out of six races
Bernie, 15, strikes gold in laser radial as sailors win four out of six on offer
Gold medallist at last year's Youth Olympic Games.
Singapore's Sailor of the Year.
Add South-east Asia (SEA) Games gold medallist to the list of accolades that Bernie Chin has chalked up over the past 12 months.
Still only 15, the Raffles Institution student, who took up the sport at the age of nine, is certainly going places.
Bernie won the men's youth laser radial (under-19) event yesterday in convincing fashion, finishing first in seven out of 10 races at the National Sailing Centre in East Coast.
"I'm really happy about winning the gold. It means that the sacrifices really paid off," the teenager said.
"Before the Games, I had to train quite hard to get used to my new boat class, and I missed a lot of school as a result.
"I have to thank the Sailing Federation and my school teachers for their support."
Thailand's Apiwat Sringam and Indonesia's Achmad Zainudin bagged the silver and bronze respectively in an event which featured just five sailors.
"There was definitely more strategy involved racing in a smaller fleet," Bernie added.
"It's tougher to race in a fleet of five than 30, because the margin for error is smaller."
Bernie plans to remain in the youth laser radial class, as he eyes success at the Laser Radial Youth (U-19) championships in Canada in August.
While he admitted he was concerned about his studies taking a backseat for the time being, training - five days a week - will still continue as normal for the teenager.
"I'm taking a short break first, though. Because it's the school holidays after all," he said.
Singapore bagged four golds from six events yesterday, with Colin Cheng winning the Laser Standard and the men and women keelboat teams triumphant in the fleet racing events.
While the women's quartet of Jovina Choo, Terena Lam, Dawn Liu and Daniella Ang sailed to first place easily, winning all eight races ahead of Malaysia and Thailand, the men's trio had to dig deep to fend off a challenge from the Philippines, the eventual silver medallists.
Stanley Chan, Colin Ng and Anthony Kiong won an exciting medal race to clinch victory ahead of Thailand, who finished third overall.
The victory was particularly sweet for the 37-year-old Chan, who was a bronze medallist in two previous SEA Games outings (1997 and 2013).
Chan and Kiong also competed in the 1993 edition, the last time the biennial event was held here.
"It was a tough fight; the Philippines and us were really close on points," Chan said.
"It went down to the medal race, so we had to stay calm and regroup the night before."
Singapore Sailing Federation chief executive Tan Wearn Haw, who was out at sea on a speedboat watching the races, said he was pleased with the four-gold haul.
"We never look at the number of medals. For us, it's always about how the sailors carry themselves," Tan said.
"There are still the windsurfing and 470 races to look forward to (today), and then there's the super weekend coming up.
"The men's and women's match racing keelboat grand finals will be at Marina Bay on Sunday and we hope to pull in the crowd with that."
Sailing has one gold medal on offer today in the women's windsurfing RSX.
Singapore's Audrey Yong leads Thailand's Siripon Kaewduang-Ngam by one point heading into the medal race.