By Tan Yo-Hinn
JUST hours after Tuesday night’s Singapore Sports Awards, where they were :crowned Team of the Year (events) in the junior category for their exploits in 2007,
Justin Liu and Sherman Cheng underlined their potential by finishing second in the 29er class at the prestigious Kiel Regatta in Germany yesterday morning. .
However, the result is unlikely to boost their chances of competing at the Olympic Games sailing competition, which will be held in Qingdao, China, from Aug 9-21.
Liu and Cheng are one of four pairs in the running to represent :Singapore in the men’s 470 class at the Olympics — the others are Roy Tay and Chung Pei Ming, Xu Yuanzhen and Terence Koh, and Teo Wee Chin and Benjamin Tan.
Under current rules, each country is allowed only one slot in a sailing class at the Olympics. SingaporeSailing, who will hold their annual general meeting this evening, are expected to inform the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) by tomorrow their four preferred sailors for the Olympics — one in Laser Standard, one in Laser Radial and the men’s 470 team.
The SNOC selection committee will meet tomorrow to finalise the country’s contingent for Beijing.
There are currently four sailors vying for the Laser Standard spot and the Laser Radial spot. Said SingaporeSailing president Low Teo Ping yesterday:
“SingaporeSailing always considers it a success that they have sailors in three events at the Olympics, and that all the sailors who were at the trials are all young and homegrown.”
While Liu and Cheng’s performance in Kiel is encouraging, Today understands it won’t be taken into consideration as it was not one of the three meets stipulated by SingaporeSailing as Olympic trials. The 470 men’s tandem had not competed in any of the three trials — the European Championship, the Sermaine Olympique Francaise and Holland Regatta.
Liu and Cheng, both 17, finished joint-top with Frenchmen Kevin Fischer and Glenn Gouron with 16 points from eight races in the 93-strong 29er fleet in the Kiel Regatta, but were eventually ranked second overall on countback. Britons James Peters and Edward Fitzgerald were third on 19 points.
In the girls’ division of the 29er, Griselda Khng and Cecilia Low finished fourth after coming home 16th in the gold fleet. In the Hobie 16, Singapore’s Low Wen Chun and Jonathan Chew finished fourth overall out of 37 boats.
The six sailors that competed in Germany are part of a nine-strong squad that will take part in the Volvo World Youth Sailing Championship in Aarhus, Denmark, from July 10-19.
The other three are Lo Jun Hao (Laser Standard), Elizabeth Yin (Laser Radial) and Leonard Ong (Neil Pryde RS:X windsurfing).
The Olympic class events are currently ongoing in the Kiel Regatta, which ends on Sunday. In action at press time last night were Jun Hao in the Laser Standard, Lo Man Yi and Elizabeth (both Laser Radial), and Roy Tay and Chung Pei Ming, Xu Yuanzhen and Terence Koh, and Teo Wee Chin and Benjamin Tan (all in the men’s 470).