Monday, 25 March 2013
The Star : Selangor fancied to dethrone Sarawak in MSSM aquatics championships
Monday March 25, 2013
By LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: Selangor rode on a well-planned development programme to emerge overall champions in swimming at the Pahang Sukma in Kuantan last year. And the balance of power could be shifting to the hosts this time as they seek to dethrone Sarawak in the MSSM (national schools) aquatics championships at Shah Alam Aquatic Centre starting today.
Swimming will be the blue riband event in the national schools meet held during the school holidays and Selangor are certainly not short on promising talents eager to strut their stuff.
Selangor in fact will be parading several Sukma gold medallists from Pahang last year in their bid to top their friendly rivalry with East Malaysian states Sarawak and Sabah.
Amongst the Selangor swimmers who will be out to make headlines over the next five days are freestyle swimmer Kok Cher Ling, butterfly swimmer Yap Siew Hui and breaststroker Nadia Adrianna Redza.
Cher Ling took Sukma gold medals in women’s 50m and 100m freestyle in Kuantan last year and has entered for four events in the girls’ 13-15 age-group. She may face strong competition from her own team-mate – 14-year-old Nadia Adrianna, who claimed a stunnning win in women’s 200m breaststroke in Kuantan last year. Nadia has entered for six races but should be supreme in the breaststroke discipline.
Siew Hui, the Sukma gold medallist in women’s 50m butterfly, will be out to make the most of opportunities to rule in the girls’ 16-17 age-group in the absence of Sarawak’s Erika Kong.
Erika, who represented the country in the 2010 Commonwealth and Asian Games, splashed her way to seven gold medals in last year’s meet in Kota Kinabalu but is no longer eligible.
Siew Hui has a hectic schedule as she has entered for 10 events but will face strong competition from Sabah swimmers Freda Awang Pan and Chris Tan, who are both eyeing victories in the respective short and middle distance freestyle discipline.
Sabah and Sarawak have always had good development programmes in aquatics with the likes of Alex Lim Keng Liat, Elvin Chia and Daniel Bego first making their mark in the state schools meet before gaining national prominence.
Sarawak will not be ruing so much the absence of Erika as they have good depth in the age-group categories.
They can count on youngsters like Welson Sim, Alex Tiong, Nee Gui Ping and Angela Chieng, whose were already a revelation in last year’s meet in Kota Kinabalu as award winners in the respective age-group categories.
Welson broke two of Daniel Bego’s long standing freestyle meet records in Kota Kinabalu last year and the 15-year-old has already been roped into the full-time national training programme at Bukit Jalil.
Gui Ping is another young swimmer to watch this week as he erased Keng Liat’s long standing butterfly records in Kota Kinabalu.
For the record, Sarawak won the overall title with 38 golds, 27 silvers and 15 bronzes, almost all of which came from swimming events with the exception of one silver and one bronze contributed by their diving team. Sarawak also won five out of six individual awards that were given away. But it could be a different story as everything points to an interesting battle in the pool this week.