The sailing competition at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou saw six more places claimed for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The men’s dinghy qualification spot went to Singapore while Malaysia made sure they will be on the startline of the women’s dinghy event. China earned a men’s windsurfing berth and Hong Kong took up a women’s windsurfing place. Thailand secured entry to the men’s and women’s kite events. All places are subject to official confirmation by World Sailing.
There was no sailing on the final day of the Asian Games at the end of what was otherwise a successful regatta in an excellent venue in Ningbo meaning all of the qualification places were settled on results earlier in the week.
The women’s dinghy place for Paris 2024 was secured for Malaysia thanks to performances by a recent graduate of World Sailing’s Emerging Nations Program (ENP). Nur Shazrin Mohamad Latif won gold in the ILCA 6 just a few weeks after benefiting from ENP support to take part in the Allianz Sailing World Championships. Stephanie Norton of Hong Kong was second while Jing Hua Victoria Chan of Singapore was third.
Latif said: “I’m so happy and my mum will be very proud!
“Every day she’s kept calling me and just telling me to keep calm and stay focussed and no pressure! I didn’t target gold at first because I had just come back from injury and I just said let’s focus on the boat speed and the results will come.”
Ryan Lo, who won men’s dinghy gold in the ILCA 7, finished ahead of Korea’s Jeemin Ha and Vishni Saravanan of India to make sure Singapore will be on the startline at next year’s Olympic Games.
Lo said: “it feels really great, I’m really happy right now and it’s a big relief for me to get a spot for the country for the Olympics. For now, my goal is just to try to do what I can over the next year to see what I can do to improve.
“I didn’t have a very good first day – I was fourth after the first day – so I just had to dig deep and try to be consistent, just try take it one race at a time.”
Lo paid tribute to his family and, in particular, his mother for supporting his sailing career.
He added: “My parents have been very supportive of me, especially my mum. She would come to the sailing club every day and stay the whole day to watch me sail.
“It’s been quite a long journey now – 19 years since I started sailing – and I’m very appreciative of the support I’ve had from my family and friends and the whole system in Singapore.”
Bi Kun was pleased to have secured an Olympic place for China in the men’s windsurfing, winning gold ahead of Taehoon Lee of Korea and Cheng Chin Yin of Hong Kong, after falling short of his own expectations at the Allianz Sailing World Championships.
The Tokyo 2020 bronze-medallist and 2018 Asian Games windsurfing champion said: “I’m not overjoyed as I was hoping to get the Olympic qualification in The Hague during the worlds last month. But winning the Asian Games again is quite an achievement and worth celebrating.
“My family and friends have been following me so closely this time. They have now become experts in explaining sailing to others. They know how to check the tracker and know how I was doing at each mark.”
Ma Kwan Ching of Hong Kong finished second behind China’s Huang Xianting in the women’s windsurfing in order to guarantee Olympic qualification for her country, with Aticha Homraruen of Thailand third.
She said: “Now I’m super relieved and I’m so happy that everything has gone smoothly. This week I performed quite well, and I was mentally quite strong so that I could stay under pressure and keep my results quite stable.”
Men’s and women’s kite
In the men’s kite, world champion Max Maeder (SGP) was the clear winner of the Formula Kite competition ahead of second-placed Zhang Haoran (CHN). However, with Singapore and China having already made sure of Olympic qualifying, the Paris 2024 place went to Thailand thanks to Joseph Weston’s bronze medal.
Thailand also secured Olympic qualifying in the women’s kite after Benyapa Jantawan’s silver medal in Ningbo. She was second behind China’s Chen Jingyue with Yongeun Lee of Korea third.
For more information on sailing at the 19th Asian Games click here. For more information on qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games click here.
World Sailing CEO hails “first class” sailing at Asian Games
David Graham, Chief Executive Officer of World Sailing, has paid tribute to the excellent sailing venue at the 19th Asian Games as well as a “first class event”.
He said: “I was speechless when I came into this sailing centre – it is world class, whether that is the facilities for the athletes and officials, the area where the boats are stored and a nice sheltererd harbour for the boats to get out to the field of play. And the field of play is so picturesque.
“The organisation of the sailing event in the Asian Games is first class – it’s a mixture of local people and experts from other countries who have come together as a team and done a fantastic job. The quality of the racing has been absolutely brilliant.”
Issued on behalf of: World Sailing