Olympics- all over bar the shouting (for another four years anyway)

General Press Releases Friday August 26, 2016 16:27
Bangkok--26 Aug--sail-world.net

We here at Sail-World Asia would like to congratulate every single sailor that took part in the 2016 Olympic Regatta. Not just the medal winners, but every single one of them who trained, fought, sacrificed, ate and slept sailing for anything up to four years. Now, go out and have a pie and a pint, or whatever your national equivalent may be, and bask in the glory of having become an Olympian. Well done one and all. As Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics, reminds us, "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well."

The Rio regatta was not without its critics, and certainly not without some glitches – from a collapsed launching pontoon to windless days to others when it blew the oysters off the rocks. Water quality was the hot topic before the event, with well-substantiated reports or raw sewage and massive pollution in the headlines. "Something must be done" was the cry, and self-evidently something was done, because - as very nicely put by Reuters - "the 2016 Olympic regatta began with concerns about polluted waters and ended with medal winners jumping into Guanabara Bay to celebrate."

We didn't hear of anyone getting a plastic bag around their daggerboard, and nobody got sent off to hospital with either the Guanabara trots or a case of zika virus. Sailors described the collection of racecourses as providing the most challenging Olympic regatta, ever.

Of the Asian nations, Japan had the biggest representation in the Olympic regatta, with a total of 11 sailors. Close behind was Singapore with 10. Best 'Asian' score was a silver medal for China's Peina Chen in the Women's RS:X. Japan scored a fifth place overall in the Women's 470, and Hong Kong collected an eighth in Men's RS:X. The remaining 26 entries didn't place in the top ten of their respective classes.

Why don't the Asian nations fare better in the results table? Quoted in Singapore's Today Online (http://www.todayonline.com/sports/rio-report-team-singapore-sailing), SGP's high performance manager Chua Tan Ching said that it takes about 10,000 hours of full-time sailing - or roughly 10 years - to potentially medal at the Olympics, and then added "Our sailors are not full time so that has to be changed to get them on course to perform well and progress up the ranks."

Team GBR had a spectacularly good Olympics, coming second overall in the medal table behind the USA and in front of China. A great deal of money has been spent on sports development in Great Britain in the last few years, and we understand that a lot of it came from the National Lottery. No problem there – a lottery is a voluntary tax, so the organisers are entitled to spend it however they like! Someone did the sums and estimated that each GBR medal cost about £5.5 million in funding. So if Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong et al really want to step up to the plate, persuade your sailors that becoming an accountant isn't the only thing to work towards in life, sign them up as full time athletes, and budget around US$7.25m per person. Ready, steady, go...

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