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Canoeing: Flat-out strategy pays off for Lightning-quick teens

They entered the National Canoe Sprint Championships merely with the aim of gaining competitive experience and to gauge where they stood at the national level.

So it was a pleasant surprise for the Lightning Kayaking Club (LKC) when they captured the senior men's kayak quartets 200m title yesterday.

The LKC quartet of 17-year-olds Jasmond Tan, Julian Seow, Bill Lee and Jack Smith beat Nanyang Technological University's Lawrence Lau, Collin Tan, Goh Jun Yong and Bryan Loy by 0.83sec in the five-kayak field at MacRitchie Reservoir. They stopped the clock at 34.42sec.

Despite not putting in a perfect performance, the team, who were racing together in the 200m race for the first time, had a simple strategy.

Said Jasmond: "At the start, we were a bit off in synchronisation, (but) it (race distance) was quite short, so we just went all out."

Tay Zi Qiang was also a winner on the day. The national kayaker picked up the gold in the Senior men's kayak singles 200m race, finishing in 42.37sec to pip Jasmond by 0.70sec.

Jasmond and Co were among the 400 participants who were part of the two-day, 100-race championships organised by the Singapore Canoe Federation (SCF).

This year's edition also featured the addition of two new races, the junior kayak singles 2,000m and paracanoe kayak singles 200m.

The expanded categories were added to develop and promote participation in the sport by youths and para-athletes.

Qiu Yunru, assistant honorary secretary of the SCF, said: "We want to give them the opportunity to take part in races like anyone else.

"Currently, the programme is running on limited capacity, so we hope to be able to raise more funds to extend the programme to more people with special needs."

Para-athlete Iman Sim, 14, who took part in the paracanoe kayak singles 200m final, said: "I appreciate the opportunity to participate at this year's NCC (National Canoe Championships). Canoeing championships (for para-athletes) do not happen all the time. I'd like to thank all volunteers who helped me in my training."