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24 Aug 2014
Nanjing 2014 , YOG , IOC News

Singaporean sailors strike gold in Nanjing

Singaporean sailors topped the podium not once, but twice at the Jinniu Lake Sailing Venue to secure their country’s first ever gold medals in any Olympic competition.

Singapore's gold medal winner Chin in action on sailing's final day

The island nation, previously without a gold medal at any Olympic level, emphatically erased that record on 24 August, claiming first place in both the men's and women's one-person dinghy events.

Bernie Chin (SIN) finished the medal race in fifth place, but that still left him a comfortable nine points ahead of his nearest rival, Rodolfo Pires (POR), who took silver.

"I was playing safe, and not trying to do anything. I was just trying to maintain," Chin said. "I just needed to be ahead and be in the top five. Even though I lost one position at the end on the downwind, I wasn't pushing very hard."

Hungary's Jonatan Vadnai claimed the men's bronze medal.

Yom makes it a double for Singapore

Chin’s compatriot Samantha Yom increased the elation of the Singaporean team, as she won women's dinghy gold medal by a single point.

She came second in the final race, but leapfrogged Odile van Aanholt in the overall standings after the Netherlands sailor finished seventh in the medal race.

"I've learnt a lot about how much support actually means. I'm really grateful for all the support I've received from my father and mother, who are here," said Yom.

For the parents it was a moment they had not dared dream about.

"We didn't want to hope for too much. She came with a goal of being in the top five. But it was a fantastic achievement that she reached gold. Maybe too much for us to absorb," YOM's father Michael said.

The Yom and Chin families celebrate Singapore's first Olympic gold medals

In the windsurfing class the gold went to Wu Linli (CHN) in the women's event, while Francisco Cruz Saubidet Birkner (ARG) took first place in the men's competition.

Wu was dominant in her event, winning four of the last five races, and she said her preparations for Nanjing 2014 had worked out perfectly.

"To prepare for this event, I lost weight. I went from 69kg to 55kg for the lighter winds," she said.

Both windsurfers say they will move up to the full Olympic level RS:X class now, while the dinghy sailors are expected to move into the laser radial class.

Saubidet Birkner (ARG) said: "I trained all year for this event, and I finished first. After this I will have a small vacation, then I will move to RS:X."

“It's more difficult, so I'll have to train more, but now I can train with my brother [Bautista Saubidet Birkner, who competed at the first edition of the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010], so I'm very happy.”

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