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Thais, Turks favourites at Asian yachting regatta in Pattaya

Racing in the 2021 Optimist Asian and Oceanian Championship regatta in Pattaya on Monday. (Photo supplied)

PATTAYA: The 2021 Optimist Asian and Oceanian Championship is being held at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club from Nov 6 to 13.

Youth sailors from Thailand and Turkey made their ambitions for victory clear in the early stages of the tournament but the Americans, Singaporeans, and Swedes are not going to let them cruise to victory without a challenge.

Turkey’s Gorkem Arda Kocak and Medina Havva Tatlican and Thailand’s Weka Bhanubandh are among the favourites after getting off to fast starts.

Sweden’s Levi Bernhardtz, Thailand’s Thanapat Siricharoen and Singapore’s Nicole Lim could also win the title.

Medine proved she has the skills to be a front-runner in the regatta, holding onto the lead throughout most of the first race, only to be passed on the final leg by Bernhardtz and Thailand’s Thanapat Siricharoen.

In the second race, Medine found herself first around the first mark again, but closely followed by Weka and Lim.

By the second mark, it was Turkey’s Gorkem and Thailand’s Chanatip Tongglum jostling for first place.

Gusty conditions added an extra challenge but both held their lead going into the last 100 metres of the race, with results showing Gorkem pulling ahead just at the finish, followed by Chanatip and Weka, American Wylder Smith slipping in just ahead of Medine.

The final race of the day saw new contenders for top places in the competition.

Several of the finishes were nail-biting, but results showed Singapore’s Ethan Chia managed to pull well ahead with American Keith Grupenhoff in second and Sweden’s Malcolm Dahlberg third.

For race officials and sailors, it was a good start to the regatta, with winds expected to be less unpredictable for the rest of the week.

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