SINGAPORE, June 15 (Bernama) -- Malaysian sailors proved to be a powerhouse in sailing events at the Singapore SEA Games but Malaysian Yachting Association (MYA) general manager Mohd Afendy Abdullah feels preparations for the 2017 SEA Games to be hosted by Malaysia, should start now.
Mohd Afendy said new talented sailors need to be identified and groomed for the task before the 2017 SEA Games.
"We need to unearth more talented sailors because countries like Singapore have already started their preparations. Singapore had shown tremendous improvement in the 2015 SEA Games," he told Bernama, here.
Singapore emerged as the overall champion in sailing events with 10 gold, 7 silver and one bronze medal compared with Malaysia's 7 gold, 5 silver and 2 bronze medals.
Mohd Afendy who is also the assistant team manager for sailing said though Malaysian sailors had performed exceptionally well in Singapore, there were areas and room for improvement.
He added Malaysia that were also near misses in the competition as sailors lost out on the race for gold medals due to reasons beyond their control, especially when the organisers did not complete the fixture for the women's Keelboat Match Racing claiming races cannot be held at the Singapore National Sailing Centre (NSC) after 5.30pm due to safety reasons.
The decision saw Singapore clinch the gold since sailors from the country were leading in the preliminary stage while Malaysia's Nurul Elia Anuar, Geh Cheow Lin, Nur Amirah Hamid and Ummi Norwahida Sallahuddin were awarded the silver medal.
"Despite the near misses and incomplete fixture, the sailing squad managed to surpass the target of five gold medals by winning seven," said Mohd Afendy.
Mohd Afendy said after a fruitful SEA Games campaign, some sailors from the team would be competing in the World Sailing Championships which will be an avenue to qualify for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics in Brazil.
Olympic sailor Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy will compete in the men's Laser Standard at the World Sailing Championships in Kingston, Canada from June 29 to July 8 while his sister Khairunneeta will be participating in the women's Laser Radial event at the World Championships in Oman from Nov 17-26.
Mohd Afendy said National sailors will also be competing in two qualifying tournaments for the World Championships, namely in Japan (July) and China in September.