Saturday, 3 November 2012

The Star : 13-gold Lai Kwan hopes grant will be upgraded

Saturday November 3, 2012

Pool queen: Chui Lai Kwan powering her way to victory in the women’s 200m butterfly event yesterday

KUALA LUMPUR: Swimmer Chui Lai Kwan found her scholarship downgraded after she quit the national team late last year. She is hoping that will change following her extra­ordinary performance in the National Varsity and Higher Institutions Games (Sukipt).

The 21-year-old looks set to swim away with the Best Sportswoman award, although there is still a week to go before the inaugural Games come to a close, after splashing to a total of 13 gold medals.

Lai Kwan posing with her 13 gold medals

Lai Kwan added three more golds to her tally by coming out tops in the 50m freestyle, 100m backstroke and 200m butterfly on the last day of swimming at National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil.

Lai Kwan, representing Universiti Putra Malaysia, took part in 15 events and had to settle for a second silver in the 4x100m medley relay.

It is still an accomplishment as she won all the 12 individual races she was entered and the icing on the cake was getting the better of former national swimmer Leung Chii Lin in the 50m freestyle final yesterday.

Both are still considered the fastest freestyle swimmers in the country. Lai Kwan won a SEA Games gold medal in Korat in 2007 in the discipline while Chii Lin swam at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The Sandakan-born swimmer is pursuing a degree in Food, Science and Technology at UPM and hopes she has made a strong case to have her scholarship upgraded.

“I’m no longer in the national team but I went for the World Champion­ships in Shanghai last year as I had qualified for it and was trying to make the London Olympics.

“I also swam in the national age-group and will be competing in the Asean University Games in Laos next month.

“I’ve never taken part in so many events and to win 13 gold medals here is something extraordinary.

“People may think it’s easy to win every race but it isn’t. It’s tiring as I swam a total of eight races every day – the heats in the morning and the finals in the evening,” said Lai Kwan.

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