An Optimist Sailing selected video:
The Optimist Asian Championship 2014, which was organized by the Bahrain Maritime Sports Association under the authority of the International Optimist Dinghy Association, took place in Bahrain from 31st of March till 5th of April. Almost 130 sailors from 22 nations participated in this prestigious championship showcasing the best of their skills. The weather conditions looked perfect for sailing through the whole Championship. Strong winds, clear skies and warm sunshine put a smile on everyone’s face.
From 2nd till 3rd of April the Optimist Asian Team Racing Championship took place so the top 4 sailors of the qualified countries joined their forces for a place on the podium. The tricky weather conditions allowed the more experienced team racers to showcase their skills. After the first day of team racing championship Singapore, Thailand, Japan and China were the teams who had to fight for the prestigious title.
In the decisive day for the title the first battle was between the powerhouse of Optimist racing, Singapore, and the skillful team of Thailand. Singapore was the title holder and beat Thailand in 2012, while Thailand won in 2011. So both teams had history, and both were determined to win this year. Eventually, Singapore prevailed after a tough battle on the water. Japan rolled out a very good team who managed to disqualify the 2nd team of Singapore preventing a civil war of 2 Singaporean teams. Although Japan fought hard in the next round they didn’t manage to overcome the obstacle of the 1st Singapore team, but they were happy enough to win the bronze medal. The Singaporean 1st team, under the directions of their top coach Fernando Alegre, was determined to continue their run of wins in this competition, but they had a rather solid object in their path, which was the formidable team from China. In the final sail-off the menu was full of action as both teams gave their best and transformed the race into a chess game. Close battles, moments full of tension and great performances lead to a spectacular outcome with China outfoxing Singapore to raise the flag and take victory. Champions of 2014!
After China gained the glory of winning the incredibly competitive team racing championship, all 130 sailors switched back to individual mode. On the race course all the sailors were ready to showcase the best of their skills. And what a sight as this dynamic fleet sped out and squeezed onto the start line, all looking for that front rank, time-on-distance, perfect start to find the first shift. Close roundings, boat-to-boat battles and fast pace were the characteristics of races. After the third day of racing it looked like the top spot will be claimed by a sailor from either Turkey, Thailand, Singapore or China, but the quality of the whole fleet made this an early speculation.
In the last day of the championship with lighter conditions on the race area the sailors had to find the right wind shift. Tension was high in the fight for the medals. The dramatic last act put a lot of pressure on the young sailors. Rasima Yasar from Turkey finished out the top 10 places but he claimed overall regatta victory because Junrui Lu from Singapore finished behind him. As Yasar is from Turkey and outside Asia, Lu was more than happy to be crowned Asian Boy Champion for 2014. Wang Jie from China gave it everything, climbing to second place in the last race, but after a protest, he was disqualified, so he dropped down the leaderboard. After this dramatic decision, Suthon Yampinid from Thailand won second place in the Asia Championship and the 3rd overall in the boy’s fleet. Phua Shynee, the youngster from Singapore, claimed the title of Asian Girl Champion and first overall in he girl’s fleet, showing a lot of promise for the future. China, after winning the team racing Asian championship, saw Huijia Yu in second with Xiaming Qiu third in Asia and overall.
All in all it was a great event that came successfully through with many participations and high-level competition, as some of the top optimist countries were present. The IODA Optimist Asian Championship 2014 wrapped up with a typically impressive and glamorous medal ceremony, showcasing a real flavor of Bahrain’s hospitality. The winners were warmly applauded, and all the sailors went out of their way to say how much they enjoyed this well run event. We hope to see you next year.
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– Leaving in a distance Original mix by Alex Heat
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