Inaugural RSYC Metazone Inclusive Cup shows the potential for Para Sailing in Asia
Inaugural RSYC Metazone Inclusive Cup shows in Asia
Organised as a trial ahead of a larger event planned for next year, the regatta also featured Singapore’s first Para Sailing Development Program (PDP), and the first in a three-year series designed to develop the sport and create opportunities for sailors, coaches and event organisers.
Jevan Tan, Chair of the RSYC Regatta and founder of Metazone, a non-profit, all volunteer organisation involved in youth development in Singapore, said, “We initiated interest in running the PDP in 2019 because we felt we could bring more awareness for Para Sailing and Inclusive sailing in Asia”
“The focus on inclusiveness here in Singapore is very important because we live in a multi racial, multi-cultural society, and the only way forward for the country is to have an inclusive mindset. Through the PDP, Metazone wanted to further extend disabled sailing and to add inclusiveness. The key point was to emphasise that we are one community and we share the same ocean. This led us to the regional Metazone Inclusive Cup Race, which we piloted this year at the RSYC Regatta. By using the Hansas, it allowed an equal platform for able and disabled sailors to compete together.”
In an all-Singaporean fleet for the Hansa 203 event, Yap Qian Yin sailed a near perfect series, winning six of the seven races, to comfortably finish ahead of Aaron Per in second and Liang Qiyun and Lim Kim Seng, who were tied in third.
The Hansa 303 event Gold Fleet was won by the crew of Jovin Tan and Ryan Sim of Singapore, who also sailed a near perfect series with six successive first place finishes. He was pushed all the way by the pair of Nurul Amilin Binti Balawi and Mustafah Bin Junell of Malaysia, who finished just one point back. The Japanese team of Yoko Sone and Rupert Ong finished third. In the Silver Fleet, Malaysian duo Mat Ridwan Bin Yah and Nurul Nazirah Binti Ngah emerged victorious, ahead of Chann Veasna and Tan Jun Zhi of Cambodia in second and Louis Goh and Michael Toh from Singapore in third.
The sailors were joined by coaches and Member National Authority (MNA) representatives to gain further understanding of the requirements for staging Para Sailing events within the region. Further events planned through until 2025 will allow more sailors and coaches from countries across Asia to increase accessibility to sailing for people with disabilities and create the potential for national and international events to be held in more locations across the region.
The RSYC Regatta is recognised as one of the longest running regattas in Singapore with racing dating back a century. The introduction of the inaugural Metazone Inclusive Cup marks a new era for sailing in Singapore and offers opportunities for Para Sailors and Sailing Clubs in Asia to develop the sport.
“Next year, we intend to run the event within the same timeframe, as part of the RSYC Regatta. As a prelude to the RSYC Regatta this year, we hosted 150 children and over 200 parents for the Optimist Knockout Challenge. In the consecutive week, we welcomed regional sailors to the week long PDP clinics and on-water programme. Followed by a Sustainability and Inclusiveness roundtable, involving stakeholders such as parents, employers, youth and adults; both able and disabled, to discuss topics on disabilities, physical and neuro. During the same weekend, as part of the RSYC Regatta, we ran the regional Metazone Inclusive Cup race alongside the various class races, IRC, PY and SB20.
“Next year’s format will be similar, but we will extend it to parents on the Optimist, so that they can be part of the community and have a greater understanding of the disabilities they may face with their children, and for the children to develop an inclusive mindset so that they may be more understanding of their classmates who need help,” Jevan added.
World Sailing, along with Member National Associations, Class Associations and sailors across the globe, are currently campaigning for the reinstatement of sailing for the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games. Para Sailing featured in five successive Games until, in 2015, it was announced that Para Sailing was being dropped from Tokyo 2020. World Sailing has worked tirelessly to ensure sailing meets the criteria set by the IPC and become the first sport in Paralympic Games history to gain reinstatement. The official application was recently submitted, and the final outcome is expected by January 2023.