Roaring winds, rough waters, crashing waves.
For many, these are times where we avoid the sea.
But for Sailors, these are the perfect training conditions.
If you are a follower of the sport, you would have heard of Darren Choy. At the age of 21, Darren already earned himself many accolades. In fact, this was his third time representing Singapore at the SEA Games; after the first in 2007 (Thailand) and the second in 2013 (Myanmar).
He had set his sails when he was just nine; what started out as a co-curricular activity surely came a long way. While this is Darren’s first gold at the SEA Games, he had clinched top titles in the 2009, 2010 Byte CII World Championships and 2009 Asian Youth Games.
To Darren, the gold medal from this edition of the games is more of a personal achievement as he humbly acknowledged that ‘there were others who got a gold in this event before as well’.
Nonetheless, the gold for the men’s double-handed 470 dinghy was not without the help of his partner, Jeremiah Yeo. Darren met Jeremiah at the Byte CII World Championships in 2009. When asked about Jeremiah, Darren quipped that he’s “a very chill dude”. “Our partnership works very well because we’re really good friends. We can communicate effectively with the same goal of making the boat fast.”
How was preparation leading up to the competition day like?
Prior to the event, we had 2 months of training in Europe. The training sessions saw us competing with the world’s best, including many world champions and Olympic champions. Doing so helped us set the bar and showed us where we needed to be as well as what we needed to do to get better.
A few days before the games started, we already knew that we had done enough preparation leading up to the event and that there wasn’t anything more we could do – except to keep ourselves sharp for race day.
What were your first thoughts when you realised you got the Gold?
I was probably thinking of how hard I worked to get this and that the racing is finally over! I was exhilarated, yet relieved because in a sport like Sailing, it’s never over until it’s over. Things can change really drastically just like how the weather can suddenly change from sunshine to rain.
What would you have done differently in hindsight? Any regrets or last thoughts on SEA Games 2015?
Nothing! SEA Games 2015 was a truly memorable experience and it was perfect to me.
What are your plans from now?
It is really hard to say, but I doubt I’ll be retiring anytime soon. I’ll be trying to qualify for the Olympics and even compete in it!
And Darren’s advice for budding athletes? “Success doesn’t happen overnight, you need to keep working on it and with time, you’ll start seeing the results you deserve.”
Kudos to the Singapore Sailors for doing our nation proud! Here’s also all the best to Darren and other Team Singapore athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympic qualifications! :)
Photos by SINGSOC, Marcus Chui and Gilles Martin-Raget.