The exciting event that is the Singapore Youth Olympic Festival is on its way to becoming an institution for the Southeast Asian city. In the second edition of this event, sailing is included for the first time. The Festival is one of the legacies of the 2012 Youth Olympic Games, and should serve well to keep the spirit alive until next year’s Youth Olympic Games to be held in Nanjing, China. Meanwhile, this present two-day event also aims to inspire more Singaporeans to take up sports and bring young people together whilst also promoting key Olympic values.
Sailing takes place in the Marina Reservoir that is flanked by such landmarks as Singapore Flyer and F1 Pit Buildings, The Gardens by The Bay and Benjamin Sheares Bridge. As for the racing, this will involve many classes: there will be Byte C2 and 29er boats, Laser Radials, NeilPryde RS-One Windsurfing, as well as SB20 keelboats. This variety allows for youths of different ages, skills levels and backgrounds to take part. Yet classes also reflect Singapore's Olympic Pathways: Single–Handed, Double- Handed and Windsurfing. So there’s still the opportunity for youths to pursue more seriously their Olympic ambitions. Nevertheless, in the course of the SYOF, organizers will keep playing field as level as possible – all the boats and equipment will be identical, and supplied to participants, so it really is down to individual skill this time.
Today, even though the weather conditions were very light, a number of excellent races and high excitement unfolded over a large stretch of water, in an event that offers exceptional visibility to spectators: every day, there are thousands of people, joggers and parkgoers who visit Gardens by The Bay, as well as the Singapore Flyer.
Much to enjoy for the athletes too: many of those taking part have only just made the transition from smaller classes like the Optimist, and so they found the speed that bigger boats like the Bytes or the Lasers offer immensely exciting. And on the other hand, the level of competition is further raised when one considers that Singapore already is the dominant force in the Optimist class, and many of its world champions among them, Yukie Yokoyama, Savanna Siew and Kimberly Lim have now moved in to the bigger classes. The Singapore Management University also has a strong presence in this year’s Festival, in the SB20s. No less than three teams are competing here, proving once again, not only that sports and studying go well together, but also the competitive streak in these future managers!
The top two in the 29er class were decided today, and Joshua Guo with Jeremiah Guo among with the duo of Bryan Lee and Joshua Matthew Lim, will advance straight to the finals tomorrow, while the rest will have to go through a second qualifying round. Same for the Bytes category, with the only difference being that the top three athletes would be the ones advancing straight to the finals. The rest of the classes will continue with fleet racing tomorrow and, once a series of eight races is completed, a medal race will ensue, determining the overall winner. So it is indeed one exciting second, and final, day that awaits us tomorrow at the second Singapore’s Youth Olympic Festival.