By ASHREENA PILLAI
KUALA LUMPUR: Youngster Lim Ching Hwang kept his eye on the prize as he went on to clinch his first individual gold in the men’s 100m freestyle at the Malaysian Open swimming championships at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil.
|Jubilation: Lim Ching Hwang posing with the gold medal after winning the men’s 100m freestyle in the Malaysian Open swimming championships at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday. — AZHAR MAHFOF / The Star|
Swimming right next to his idol and national record-holder Daniel Bego (50.16) for the first time, the 16-year-old was unperturbed en route to clocking 51.32 for the gold medal.
Daniel settled for silver (51.42) and Hong Kong’s Ng Chun Nam (51.95) the bronze.
“It was my first win against Daniel and the first time we’ve swam right next to each other. I think it was a good fight, a very exciting race,” said Ching Hwang, who qualified second in the heats in 52.52 behind Daniel’s 52.39.
“I’ve known him for a long time ... since I was very young. He’s a very talented swimmer and is someone I’ve always looked up to. So, it’s an honour to swim side by side with him.”
However, Ching Hwang, who will also compete in the 50m and 200m freestyle races, missed out on improving on his personal best of 50.87 which he set at the Singapore national age-group competition in March.
“It’s not my best time, I could’ve done better,” said Ching Hwang, who is based in Singapore.”
Ching Hwang ended the day with two gold medals after anchoring Selangor to the 4x100m medley relay title in 3:54.32 – ahead of India (3:57.33) and KL (4:02.51).
Meanwhile, Siow Yi Ting broke the meet record en route to clinching the gold in the women’s 100m breaststroke in 1:10.73.
Christina Loh, who held the previous mark of 1:11.08, was second in 1:12.06 while Selangor’s Phee Jing En was third in 1:13.58.
Yi Ting also easily clinched the gold in the women’s 400 individual medley in 4:53.10. Erica Kong Chia Chia (5:01.92) and Nadia Adrianna Redza (5:06.15) were second and third respectively.
Khoo Cai Lin and Ian James Barr also triumphed in the women’s 200m butterfly (2:17.36) and men’s 400m individual medley (4:53.10) respectively.