By Ajitpal Singh
AFTER a premature return to the pool from three shoulder surgeries in the last two years, Daniel Bego is ready to reclaim his status as the best freestyle swimmer in Malaysia.
|Daniel Bego with the 100m butterfly gold and 50m freestyle silver medals he won in the Malaysia Open at the National Aquatic Centre yesterday. Pic by Syarafiq Abd Samad|
Bego was the star performer for Malaysia when he bagged five gold medals, four of them in record time, at the 2009 Sea Games in Laos.
However, he had to lay off swimming for more than a year after undergoing surgery on both his shoulders in 2011. He missed the 2011 Sea Games in Indonesia and also failed to qualify for last year's London Olympics.
The Sarawak swimmer had to go for a third surgery to correct a long-standing bone spur problem in his right shoulder.
Although he was overshadowed by 16-year-old Lim Ching Hwang at the Malaysia Open, Bego answered his critics with a gold medal in the men's 100m butterfly at National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Bego clocked 54.82 followed by Selangor's Chan Jie (56.02) and Kuala Lumpur's Keith Lim (56.73) to end his campaign in the meet with one gold and four silver.
"I am on a strict programme to rediscover my form and hopefully I can continue to make progress. Although I still go for rehab, my condition is much better than before," said Bego yesterday.
"I am clocking faster times but it is an ongoing process. I have a lot do before I can swim faster. I am training hard to regain my form."
On Ching Hwang's performance in the freestyle discipline, Bego said he was happy with the youngster's progress.
"I came in second best to him in three events here. However, I will try my best to close the gap and hopefully swim faster than him in upcoming meets," he said.
Bego will compete in two meets ahead of the World Championships in July, where he has qualified for the 200m freestyle and the Sea Games in Myanmar in December.
Selangor were crowned overall champions in the Malaysia Open with a haul of 13 gold, 11 silver and 12 bronze followed by Negri Sembilan (5-0-0) and Sabah (4-4-4).
RESULTS -- Men's 50m freestyle: 1 Lim Ching Hwang (Sel) 23.62s, 2 Daniel Bego (Sar) 23.68, 3 Anshul Kothari (Ind) 24.01; 100m butterfly: 1 Daniel Bego (Sar) 54.84, 2 Chan Jie (Sel) 56.02, 3 Keith Lim (KL) 56.73; 200m backstroke: 1 Tern Jian Han (Joh) 2:06.75, 2 Ashwin Menon (Ind) 2:10.07, 3 Ian James Barr (KL) 2:11.95; 1500m freestyle: 1 Kevin Yeap (Per) 15:45.87, 2 Welson Sim (Sar) 15:47.69, 3 Vernon Lee (Sar) 16:10.34.
Women's 50m freestyle: 1 Chui Lai Kwan (Sab) 26.33, 2 Kok Cher Ling (Sel) 27.36, 3 Khoo Cai Lin (Sel) 27.41; 100m butterfly: 1 Sze Hang Yu (HK) 1:00.92, 2 Chan Kin Lok (HK) 1:01.93, 3 Yap Siew Hui (Sel) 1:02.70; 200m backstroke: 1 Chris Tan Li Ling (Sab) 2:26.81, 2 Amanda Pasaoa Lee (Sel) 2:30.28, 3 Tan Rou Ying (KL) 2:31.00; 800m freestyle: 1 Khoo Cai Lin (Sel) 8:50.47, 2 Evon Heng Kor Jin (Sab) 9:30.86, 3 Mirthe Hoestede (Sel) 9:34.29. By Ajitpal Singh