By FADHLI ISHAK | email@example.com
SELANGOR's Shaun Yap clinched qualification for the Barcelona World Championships in style as he powered to victory in the 50 metres breaststroke in a new national record time at the National Age Group Championships yesterday.
Competing in the boys Under-18 category, Shaun took gold in a blistering 28.69 seconds at the National Aquatics Complex in Bukit Jalil. His performance saw him better his own national mark of 29.12s which he had set at the Selangor Age Group Championships (SAGC) in February.
The time also beat the World Championships 'B' qualifying time of 28.98s and erased the old meet record of 30.39s set by Hong Kong's Li Long Yin last year.
Johor's Ng Wei Zheng finished second on 30.09s while Selangor's Benny Ng took bronze (30.22s).
Shaun, who won four gold medals at the SAGC this year, said he was elated to have qualified for his first World Championships.
"I think I swam really well. It feels really good to qualify for my first World Championships and I am excited at the prospect of competing in Barcelona this August," said the 17-year-old, who has been training under national coach Paul Birmingham since last December.
"I really owe my performances here to all the coaches who have trained me over the years and allowed me to be where I am today. Paul and Selangor coaches Ong Jin Kooi Mark and Marilyn Chua have all helped me."
The Help Academy student, however, said he still has unfinished business to attend to on the final day of competition today.
"The breaststroke is my favourite discipline and I also hope to qualify for the World Championships in the 100m."
Johor's Wong Fu Kang also impressed yesterday as he rewrote two meet records in the boys Under-15 category.
Fu Kang romped to gold in the 50m breaststroke in 30.17s to erase the old mark of 30.57s set by Sarawak's Tang Chong Heng last year.
His performance also saw him book a spot at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games (YOG) next year as his time was under the 'B' qualifying standard of 30.85s.
Hong Kong's Darren Lau finished second in 30.83s while Federal Territories' Nicholas Soon clinched bronze on 31.71s.
Fu Kang also emerged victorious in the 400m individual medley in a new meet record of 4:46.35s. The old mark of 4:46.67s was set by Johor teammate Tia Fang Der last year.
Sabah's Eric Tan (4:46.44s) took silver while Hong Kong's Oscar Chi (4:59.32s) was third.
Selangor's 4x100m freestyle team of Benny Ng, Lim Tsiu Khoon, Lim Ching Hwang and Chan Jie were also in top form as they beat the old championship record time of 3:33.90s set by Hong Kong last year en route to victory.
The Selangor quartet clinched gold in 3:33.16s with Hong Kong (Tony Leung, Lim Shiu Yue, Au Tsz Ho, Chan Chun Hei) finishing second on 3:34.29s. Third were Sarawak's Welson Sim, Vernon Lee, Alex Tiong and Roydon Ong who clocked 3:36.31s.