Sunday, 31 March 2013
The Star : Sarawak lose title but discover a gem in Welson
By LIM TEIK HUAT
SHAH ALAM: Sarawak failed to hang on to the overall champions’ trophy but there was consolation for the East Malaysians with the discovery of a budding star in Welson Sim in the just-concluded MSSM (national schools) swimming championships at the Shah Alam Aquatic Centre.
Welson splashed his way to seven gold medals and five came with new record times, to be crowned the best swimmer in the boys’ 16-18 age-group.
The Kuching-born swimmer ruled the freestyle races, taking home gold medals in 100m, 200m, 400m and 1,500m distances as well as the 50m backstroke.
Welson also anchored Sarawak to victory in the 4x100m freestyle and medley races.
His performances draws comparison to another famous Sarawakian Daniel Bego, who also first made his mark at the national schools meet a few years back.
Incidentally, the age-group records Welson broke belonged to Daniel.
It put a smile on the face of Welson who said it was an honour to break his idol’s mark.
Welson has already taken the first serious step to becoming a top swimmer himself, having accepted the offer to join the full-time national swimming programme based at Bukit Jalil last October.
The transition from Kuching to the big city has not affected the youngster and he is liking the opportunity.
“I started swimming competitively since I was 10 and it has been my strong interest to be good in it.
“Now I am in the national team, I hope to get the chance to represent the country one day and make it to the Olympics.
“My current goal is to get to swim in the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing or either the World Youth Championships in Dubai. Both will be held in August and I will probably have to pick one if I get the nod.
“The coach (Paul Birmingham) has got selection times that I need to pass in order to go.
“I am hoping to swim in the SEA Games in Myanmar in December, but that will be a bonus if I get to go,” added the lanky Welson, who stands 1.78m tall.
Welson was not the only discovery in the national schools meet as new talents like Sabah’s Eric Tan and Selangor duo of Yap Siew Hui and Rosalind Pang also shone in their age-group categories.
Previous top juniors like Christina Loh, Erika Kong and Ian James Barr have since moved on and the MSSM meet provided the platform for the next generation to have their moment of glory.