By Jerome Seow
Picture By Chan Bin Kan For SSC
Another impressive race yesterday (Wednesday, 25 August) at the Marina Reservoir enabled Team Singapore’s Brandon Ooi (pictured) to emerge seventh out of the eight boys competing in the quarter finals of the YOG men’s kayak slalom event.
It was no wonder that his coach Balazs Babella, a former world class competitor, was pleased. He said of his charge: "It is not just me praising him. Officials from other countries have seen how explosive he is. They have said good things about him.”
His results at this YOG showed the merit of this assessment. In the sprint event, he came within a whisker of defeating Australia’s Scott Smith. He also pushed World Youth Champion Igor Kalashnikov of Russia all the way.
The slalom is not his specialty but he shocked most of the field to make it to the quarter finals. However, he remains focused on his pet event, the sprint. The amiable Anglo Chinese School (Independent) student said: “My dream has always been to be a champion in the sprint event at the Junior World Championships. So I’m going to train harder to reach my goal.”
Despite his best efforts today and a respectable time of 1 minute 36.92 seconds in the slalom race, he could not match France’s Guillaume Bernis (1:28.68), a slalom specialist. The Frenchman eventually finished fourth overall as Slovakia's Simon Brus (1:25.15) clinched the gold.