“I would take this as another competition to improve myself as all competitions are different in terms of conditions, competitors and situations on the water”
Singaporean sailor Jovin Tan has stated that his only rival will be ‘himself’ as he competes in the Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games in South Korea, between 18-24 October.
A three-time Paralympian in the SKUD 18 category, Tan will be competing in a different class in Incheon, meaning he is unaware of his rivals’ ability, but hopes the competition can further benefit his development for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
“I would take this as another competition to improve myself as all competitions are different in terms of conditions, competitors and situations on the water,” he said.
“I am working towards Rio. Once the Asian Para Games have ended, I am back to my training on a SKUD. Right now, my mind is to concentrate on the Asian Para Games, and then I will be training hard to get Singapore to qualify for Rio.
He added: “Everyone is good and I have not raced against any of them in this class. So I guess my main rival is myself.
“I just want to enjoy the racing and my time there in Incheon. Basically I just have to stay relaxed.”
After making his debut at Athens 2004, Tan’s performances at the Paralympic level have been steadily improving year on year, with an eighth place finish at Beijing 2008, before a seventh place finish at London 2012.
In Incheon, he will be partnered by Qian Yin Yap – a relative newcomer and somebody that Tan introduced to the sport just three years ago.
Despite being a partnership in its infancy, it has proved fruitful so far, with the pair winning both the Sail Auckland in New Zealand and the Royal Yachting Association Multiclass Regatta 2014 in Great Britain.
Although achieving success, Tan states that they have been forced to compete abroad for practice due to the conditions in his native Singapore.
He said: “We had been sailing together in the Hansa 303 class for the past year and we had been competing in a few overseas regatta as a form of training too because we can't get the challenging conditions like strong breeze in Singapore.
Tan, who took up the sport at just age 15, is hoping that Singaporean success in Incheon will bring more attention to para-sport in his home country.
“It will be another good platform for disabled athletes and hopefully allow more people to know and understand people with disability.
“I hope that the Singaporean contingent can do their best so in near future, people in Singapore can see us on the same par with the able bodied athletes.
“Not forgetting that it will also add on to my profile as a sailor.”
The Asian Para Games will see athletes from 41 countries compete in 23 sports.
For more information, visit the Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games website.