July winner: Daniel Hung

Laser-sharp focus helps sailor succeed

National sailor Daniel Hung finished in the top five in all five days of sailing to win the gold at the Laser 4.7 Youth World Championships in Gdynia, Poland, last month.
National sailor Daniel Hung finished in the top five in all five days of sailing to win the gold at the Laser 4.7 Youth World Championships in Gdynia, Poland, last month.PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBERT HAJDUK

VJC student wins world youth title with just six months' training

In clinching the title at the Laser 4.7 Youth World Championships last month, Daniel Hung became the latest in a line of young Singaporean sailors who have excelled at the world level.

The 17-year-old joined compatriots Colin Cheng (2006) and Elizabeth Yin (2008) as Laser 4.7 world champions.

He scored 83 points to win the boys' division title in Gdynia, Poland, finishing among the top five positions across all five days of sailing. That performance earned him The Straits Times Star of the Month award, backed by F&N's 100Plus, for July.

"Winning the World Championships has given me the confidence that I can compete with the best, and that I am heading in the right direction in terms of the methods and techniques I've been using," said the Victoria Junior College Year 1 student.

"The title was definitely something I wanted but, more importantly, I managed to gain experience and learn from other top sailors to improve my sailing skills."

"Daniel won this competition with only six months' experience in the boat, compared to the rest of his rivals, who had about three years'. I am glad that he did not let that disadvantage faze him and his achievement against a more experienced field hints at the promise to come," said ST sports editor Lee Yulin.

But Daniel will have to wait until next month to collect his award as he is in Jakarta for the Aug 18-Sept 2 Asian Games.

TOUGH TASK

My personal goal is to bring back the gold medal for Singapore, although I know it will be challenging.

DANIEL HUNG, who is in Indonesia for the Asian Games and will partner Jodie Lai in the mixed open Laser 4.7 event.

The sailing competition begins next Friday, with Daniel and Jodie Lai - who was the runner-up in the 2015 Optimist World Championships - competing in the mixed open Laser 4.7 category.

The Republic's Asiad contingent also includes women's 470 sailor Elisa Yukie Yokoyama, who won the Optimist world title in 2012.

Sailing was Singapore's top performing sport at the last Asiad in 2014, collecting three golds, two silvers and two bronzes in Incheon.

Daniel is aiming high at the Games.

"My personal goal is to bring back the gold medal for Singapore, although I know it will be challenging," he said. "I will be up against the top Asian sailors, some of whom did not participate in the World Championships and have been training hard at the Games regatta venue (in Ancol, Jakarta). I need to continue to work hard."

SingaporeSailing president Lincoln Chee said Daniel's achievement was just reward for the sacrifices made by the sailor and his family, such as balancing his schoolwork and travelling for overseas competitions, over the years.

"We are very pleased for Daniel. Success like that is always a combination of nature and nurture and it starts with the sailor himself, his passion and commitment," he said.

"The sky is the limit for him and we hope he will continue to have the hunger and aspiration to succeed at the highest level."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2018, with the headline 'Laser-sharp focus helps sailor succeed'. Print Edition | Subscribe