Our sailors see the light in Langkawi sea

PETALING JAYA: Isolated from the mainland, and within green state Kedah, Langkawi looks ideal as a place where sports can make a comeback. The Youth and Sports Ministry is proposing the island cluster training to resume on June 1, and there’s plenty of wind behind the ministry’s sails.

National windsurfer Geh Cheow Lin, for one, is embracing the idea wholeheartedly.

Cheow Lin was on track to become the fifth national sailor to book a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics but the cancellation of the RS:X Windsurfing Asian Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from March 15-21 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has left her hopes dangling.

The 25-year-old admitted that she was frustrated with the cancellation but accepted that it was better to be focused on what she could control which is her preparation.

“Being a sailor, you are trained to adapt with the constantly changing sea and wind conditions. It’s the same for me now... my focus is on getting myself ready both physically and mentally when sailing resumes, ” said the Penang local.

“It’s good to hear that there’s a possibility of training resuming in Langkawi, we sailors are usually alone on our boats and there’s minimal contact during training at sea and we usually work within a small group, so there’s no issue with social distancing.

“I think maybe travelling from the hostel to training could be a problem but if we have a clear standard operating procedure (SOP), everything will be fine. We just need to take the appropriate precaution as safety is the key.”

Meanwhile, national windsurfing coach Hadri Zainal Abidin said the wind conditions in Langkawi would be conducive for training heading into June.

“The south-west monsoon should be from late May to October, it will be good for our athletes to sail in these conditions... sailing is about adapting and making the best of wind conditions and I hope our sailors will benefit from it, ” said the former national windsurfer.

“We need to evaluate the sailors condition once they return to training. Then, we will adjust the training programme accordingly. I believe we will need to play catch-up in training but it won’t be an issue as Cheow Lin is quite dedicated in training.”

For the record, Olympians Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy and Nur Shazrin Mohd Latif have already qualified for the laser standard and laser radial events respectively, while Nuraisyah Jamil and Juni Karimah Noor Jamali made the cut in the women’s International 470 class last December.

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