Friday, November 16, 2007

Rufina not putting high hopes on gold in new event

PUTRAJAYA: Sailor Rufina Tan Hong Mui will not put too high hopes on a golden outing in the SEA Games next month.

The 16-year-old has moved up to the double-handed 420 and it will only be her second participation in the event with partner Mabel Lim Sze Peng.

Rufina was the gold medallist in the girls' Optimist event at the Doha Asiad last December. And it was the first time in the Games that Malaysia won gold in sailing since Ryan Tan's triumph in the boys’ Optimist event at the Hiroshima Asiad in 1994.

Rufina was also the Asian Championships gold medallist and bowed out of Optimist sailing for Under-15 competitors in style – finishing fifth in the World Championships in Uruguay in January.

The Sabahan said that she faced new challenges now in sailing with a partner. “It requires good combination and communication. The boat is also bigger and more difficult to handle. I am still getting used to this situation. Unlike previously, I do not see myself as the favourite to be the winner,” said Rufina, who is based in Port Dickson.

“Singapore have the experienced sailors to challenge for the gold medal in this event and I would be happy if I can get among the medallists.”

Rufina switched to the 420 class six months ago and the experience gained will be vital to prepare her for the bigger 470 with the ultimate goal of qualification for the 2012 London Olympics.

“The 420 is not an Olympic event but it will be contested in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou. That is also my future goals,” she said.

The Star

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