Welcome to the ultimate day of the IODA Optimist Asian Championship. Here in Al Jazaeer beach suspense is in the air as all the sailors prepare for the last day of the championship. Today the wind is lighter than previous days so a steady performance in all conditions will be the key for taking the title.
As the final results will be shaped today the sailors cross check & tune their sails before the starting signal just to be sure that they will have the best possible speed. After some last minute advice from the coaches it was time to go.
With lighter conditions on the race area the sailors had to find the right wind shift. They also had to seek out the areas with more pressure - not an easy task as the high level of the competition and the number of the boats didn't leave much space. The experts of this tactical game turned out to be Malaysia, their sailors nailing the top three places in the first race of gold fleet.
Tension was high in the fight for the medals. A cat and mouse game began between Rasima Yasar from Turkey and Junrui Lu from Singapore with the overall difference just one point after the first race. Wang Jie from China and Suthon Yampinid were less consistent, with Phua Shynee attacking from behind. Everything was building up to a grand finale with the top places to be decided in the last race of the championship.
The dramatic last act put a lot of pressure on the young sailors. Rasima Yasar finished out the top 10 places but he claimed overall regatta victory because Junrui Lu finished behind him. As Yasar is from Turkey and outside Asia, Lu was more than happy to be crowned Asian Boy Champion for 2014. Wang Jie from China gave it everything, climbing to second place in the last race, but after a protest, he was disqualified, so he dropped down the leaderboard. After this dramatic decision, Suthon Yampinid from Thailand won second place in the Asia Championship and the 3rd overall in the boy's fleet.
Phua Shynee, the youngster from Singapore, claimed the title of Asian Girl Champion and first overall in he girl's fleet, showing a lot of promise for the future. China, after winning the team racing Asian championship, saw Huijia Yu second with Xiaming Qiu third in Asia and overall.
The IODA Optimist Asian Championship 2014 wrapped up with a typically impressive and glamorous medal ceremony, showcasing a real flavour of Bahrain's hospitality. The winners were warmly applauded, and all the sailors went out of their way to say how much they enjoyed this well run event. We hope to see you next year.
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