By Fadhli Ishak
THE Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) is confident its swimmers can exceed the two-gold medal target set for them at the Islamic Solidarity Games on Sept 22-Oct 1 in Palembang, Indonesia.
ASUM secretary Edwin Chong said he is expecting Malaysia's women swimmers to put on a dominant display at the competition. The women's category is being included for the first time at the Games after not being part of the inaugural edition in Saudi Arabia in 2005.
Chef-de-mission Datuk Megat Zulkarnain Omardin had on Monday set a conservative three-gold target for Malaysia at the Islamic Games with two from swimming and one from wushu.
"It has been a long time since we last competed at the Games so it is quite hard to gauge the level of competition we will be up against, especially on the men's side," said Edwin.
"However, I believe our women swimmers are very strong (compared to other Islamic countries) as a lot of Arab countries do not have women swimmers.
"I am looking forward to the girls doing well. Two gold should not be a problem for us and we will look to exceed that figure."
Edwin picked Turkey, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and hosts Indonesia as countries he expects to be among the medal winners. Daniel Bego had won two gold medals while divers Bryan Nickson Lomas and Yeoh Ken Nee took a gold each in 2005. Diving, however, has not been included at the Games this year. Edwin added that the Games will serve as a final tune-up event for the national swimmers before the Myanmar Sea Games this year.
"We will be sending eight men and seven women to the Games which is more or less a full squad," Edwin confirmed.
"All the elite swimmers from Bukit Jalil, except for Ian James Barr, will be going as it will be a good chance for them to prepare for the Sea Games. "It will most likely be our last competition before Myanmar as it will be less than two months before the Sea Games when we return from Indonesia."
Ian is expected to undergo surgery to fix a recurring shoulder injury soon.
Read more at http://www.nst.com.my/sports/other/swimming-target-achievable-says-asum-1.345572
Also view ISLAMIC SOLIDARITY GAMES: Banking on swimming and wushu to hit target