IOC and World Sailing: a shared goal to grow the sport
Sunday, August 1, 2021 12:22 PM
A priority for the Olympic Games has always been its legacy, a long-lasting impact created by the Games for its hosts, the people and the Olympic movement. For Ng Ser Miang, a passionate sailor and Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), his love for sport began over 50 years ago when he won silver as part of the Singapore Sailing Team at the Southeast Asian Peninsular Games.
He has played a pivotal part in developing sport in Singapore, across the region and in his role with the IOC since then. This week, Ser Miang visited the Enoshima Yacht Harbour on the first day of the Olympic Sailing Competition to watch the Laser, Laser Radial and RS:X Men and Women take to the water and immediately saw how the 1964 Games, the last time the Olympics came to Tokyo, has shaped this event.
“This is a fantastic venue, a legacy of the 1964 Olympic Games and extremely well equipped for the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020,” he said. “The Japanese venue team along with the Japanese Sailing Federation have done an exemplary job.”
Ser Miang also noted how the community has embraced sailing and contributed to an outstanding atmosphere which embodies the spirit of the Games. He explained, “It’s great that so many local people involved and happy to welcome Olympic sailing to their community.”
“That is, to me, the greatest achievement of all because if you look at this as the legacy of 1964, it is proof that the Olympic Games can help to energise a host venue and foster togetherness not just for our sport and the Games, but between the local community and the sailors.”
Having been involved in sailing all of his life, Ser Miang knows that this is one of the most logistically complex sports at the Games. “There is a tremendous effort required from the local organising committee, the Japanese Sailing Federation, from World Sailing, all supported by the IOC,” he said. “I’m happy that we’re working together because the relationship between the IOC and the Olympic athletes is always very special.”
Despite taking a keen interest in sailing at Tokyo 2020, Ser Miang is always looking to the future. The next qualification cycle for Paris 2024 will begin shortly and continental championships are set to return. “It’s important to always be looking to improve sports at the Olympic Games. There’s a lot of potential to develop sailing; this is the sport I love and obviously I would give my all to support this,” he explains.
“Right now, our focus is on delivering an exceptional Games at Tokyo 2020. Beyond that we need to work together for Paris 2024, Los Angeles 2028 and Brisbane in 2032.”
“With Quanhai Li, President of World Sailing, someone I have known for a long time, David Graham [CEO of World Sailing] and the new Board leading the sport, I know we can build on the success here for the benefit of sailing now and in the future.”
Australia wins gold in Laser Men, Croatia Silver, Norway Bronze
Matt Wearn (AUS) has won gold in the Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser with Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) taking silver and Hermann Tomasgaard (NOR) bronze.
Wearn had already wrapped up the gold medal before the Medal Race but took to the startline for a victory lap.
It was a clean start off the line, and quite even too. Jean-Baptise Bernaz (FRA) took up the lead, making the most of a mathematical but unlikely chance of a medal.
Tomasgaard rounded the first mark in eighth, not far back from the 10-boat fleet, but over the next lap the Norwegian sailed through to fifth on the next lap, making his intentions clear for the silver medal.
However, Stipanovic fought back hard on the final lap, overtaking Tomasgaard and moving into silver medal position.
At the finish Bernaz won the race, Wearn was second, but more importantly Stipanovic’s fourth place got him the silver medal to go with the one he won at Rio 2016. Tomasgaard was still happy to get the bronze.
Wearn’s gold medal makes it three golds in a row for Australia in the Laser, following on from Tom Slingsby at London 2012 and Tom Burton at Rio 2016.
Following a glittering Olympic career that spans quarter of a century, today’s Medal Race was the last time we’ll see Robert Scheidt competing in the Olympics. His story began at Atlanta 1996 when the Brazilian won gold in the Laser. Now aged 48, with five Olympic medals from seven Games, Scheidt bows out as one of the greatest of all time.