Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Star : Christina up to the challenge of filling Yi Ting's shoes


NAYPYITAW: It is already hard getting accustomed to the changes that come with maturing from a teenager to a young woman but to also attempt to fill the shoes vacated by multiple SEA Games gold medallist Siow Yi Ting is a big challenge.

Christina Loh in a file photo. She hopes her second SEA Games outing will be as memorable as the last one.

However, swimmer Christina Loh is slowly coming to grips with it and hopes her second SEA Games appearance will be just as memorable as her first in Indonesia two years ago.

Then, Christina struck gold for a perfect SEA Games debut in the 50m breaststroke in Palembang when she was just 16.

She was also the silver medallist behind Yi Ting in the 100m breaststroke.

The 28-year-old Yi Ting, a four-time Olympian swimmer, also won the 200m breaststroke in Palembang but quit three months before this edition of the Games because of her age and a growth in her neck.

From the last SEA Games, Christina has grown taller and now has a more defined body, which she hopes to use to her advantage in the breaststroke.

”I put in more sessions at the gym. It’s a combination of things like dyno bike and carrying weights.

”I had not bettered any of my personal bests for some time but things have been picking up and I was able to improve at the Islamic Soldarity Games in Indonesia (in September).

”I hope to continue that trend at the SEA Games,” said Christina, who bagged three gold medals in Indonesia.

”Yi Ting is also not participating and it was quite sudden. That’s also the motivation I need to come up again,” added the Kuala Lumpur-born Christina.

However, her pet event – the 50m breaststroke, which she won in Palembang, is not being contested in Naypyitaw.

”Of course, it is a bit disappointing (to have the 50m breaststroke excluded) but I have no choice but to adapt to the situation.

”I really like the sprints and believe I have a better chance of a medal in the 100m compared to the 200m this time.

”The girls from Singapore and Thailand will be tough to beat but I will give it everything I have,” said Christina, who should go up against Singapore’s Samantha Yeo and Thailand’s Chavunnooch Salubluek.

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