St Hilda’s Secondary School’s Sarah Yong overcomes rough starts to win B div ILCA 4 sailing title

SINGAPORE – Despite poor starts in some of her races, St Hilda’s Secondary School’s Sarah Yong rallied to clinch the National School Games B Division ILCA 4 title on Friday.

The 15-year-old’s determination made the difference as she won two of her four races during the four-day competition at the National Sailing Centre. Raffles Girls’ School’s Hayley Fang and Elisha Lim finished second and third respectively out of 17 competitors.

Sarah said: “This is my first win since I started competing in NSG, so I am very excited about it.

“Some of my starts were bad, so I had to… try to overtake my opponents.”

Sarah, whose co-curricular activity in school is media resource library as sailing is not offered, said she is determined to represent her school in the water sport.

She said: “I have been sailing since young, and I really love sailing. I compete (in NSG) because I love my school so much and I want to win for them.”

Her mother Diane Wee, who was supporting her throughout the races, said: “She really loves this sport and wanted to continue with it (in secondary school), so we had to… make sure she is able to balance her school, CCA as well as her sailing.”

The ILCA 4 event was something Sarah was not used to competing in, as she was previously in the Optimist class. But sessions with the national training squad helped in her preparations.

She said: “I did not know how to control the boat well at first, and it was hard to manage the boat.”

Not everything was smooth-sailing on Friday, as inclement weather caused the race start to be suspended for over three hours.

It was not easy for some competitors to cope with the delay. Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)’s Zeph Wan had to overcome “emotional barriers” during the wait before winning the C Division boys’ Optimist event ahead of St Joseph Institution’s Nigel Tan (second) and ACS (I) schoolmate Sean Kum (third).

The 13-year-old said: “I was stressed before my races. I could not think well and focus.

“My mother told me not to worry and just focus on my races. I also… talked with my friends, which made me not think too much of the races.”

He won three out of his five races, and was thankful for the motivation he received. He added: “I am grateful to my coaches and friends for supporting me.”

In the C girls’ ILCA event, Tanjong Katong Girls’ School’s Danielle Lai emerged triumphant by winning three of her four races. Dunman High School’s Jemima Chang finished second and St Hilda’s Gabi Oh was third.

Danielle, who trains at least five times a week, is satisfied that her effort had paid off.

The 14-year-old said: “I feel a sense of accomplishment because I worked really hard for this.

“I finished second in my second race, but I did what I could to get first position in the end.”

The A girls’ ILCA 6 event was won by Hwa Chong Institution’s Meghan Tan with Raffles Institution’s Faith Koy and Elissaline Tan second and third respectively. She said: “It is surreal as it is my last NSG competition, and I am happy to end with a bang.”


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