Filipino windsurfers earn respectable finishes in Asian Olympic qualifiers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 8) – Filipino windsurfers failed to notch the lone Olympic slot in each RS:X gender classes, but earned respectable finishes in the 2021 Mussanah Open Championship in Oman on Thursday.

Jewel Napa, the lone Filipina windsurfer competing in the Olympic qualifiers, landed a runner-up finish in the three-women field after getting 24 points.

The 19-year-old Napa led the field after eight races, but Singapore’s Amanda Ng Ling Kai displayed her experience in the water during the final heats. The Singaporean won the Olympic slot by topping the last seven races, including the medal race on Thursday, and finished with 17 points.

Indonesia’s Ishwariya Ganesh ranked third with 37 points.

In the men’s side, 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Yancy Kaibigan also finished second with 33 points.

Kaibigan topped the medal race on Thursday, but it was not enough for him to secure the Olympic berth as Thailand's Natthapong Phonoppharat emerged as the winner with 20 points. The Thai placed third in the medal race.

Two-time world champion Geylord Coveta settled for fourth with 64 points, while Renz Amboy ranked sixth with 76 points. A total of 13 windsurfers competed in the RS:X Men Class in the Asian Olympic qualifiers.

Philippine windsurfing national team head coach Raul Lazo expressed optimism the four Filipino windsurfers will learn from their campaign in the Oman Olympic qualifiers. He emphasized the tournament was a good avenue for young talents like Napa and Amboy to get exposed in the international play.

“I am happy with their individual performance. I just wish we had more exposure but what can we do,” said Lazo, who shared in an earlier interview with CNN Philippines that many overseas tournaments where the Filipino windsurfers would have competed got canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.