National No. 1 match racer Jeremy Koo and his sailing team finished second at the recently-concluded Dutch Match Cup Qualifier in Holland. - BERNAMA
PETALING JAYA: Things are shaping up nicely for national No. 1 match racer Jeremy Koo and his sailing team ahead of next month’s Incheon Asian Games.
Jeremy and his crew have just returned from Holland in buoyant mood after claiming a morale-boosting runner-up finish at the recently-concluded Dutch Match Cup Qualifier from Aug 22-24.
That top-two finish has earned Sime Darby Foundation Koo Racing Team (KRT) a wild card spot in the competition proper from Sept 24-28, which is the fifth leg of the prestigious Alpari World Match Racing Tour.
But the team will have to give the world class event a miss as it clashes with the Incheon Asiad, where sailing will be held at the Wangsan Marina from Sept 20-Oct 1.
“As much as we would love to compete against the world’s best at the Dutch Match Cup, we have to forgo the opportunity,” said Jeremy.
“It would have been my first time skippering outside Malaysia for a World Tour event, apart from my previous four Monsoon Cup appearances.
“But you cant say it’s a wasted opportunity as we had made our priority clear right from the start – to contend for Asian Games gold medal.”
The Malaysian Yachting Association (MYA) are confident their sailors can bring home two gold medals from the Asiad and Jeremy, who is one of the top-ranked skippers in Asia, is regarded as one of the brightest prospects.
Jeremy has moved up a rung to 41st in the latest International Sailing Federation (ISAF) world rankings for match racing and is now the third best Asian after Maximilian Soh of Singapore (No. 26) and defending Asian Games gold medallist Wataru Sakamoto of Japan (No. 39).
World No. 51 Park Gun-woo of South Korea, who won bronze in Guangzhou four years ago, is another one to watch out for.
“It will be a four-way battle between Japan, Singapore, South Korea and us at the Asian Games,” predicted Jeremy.