Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Star : Daniel, Cai Lin make a golden splash for Malaysia


NAYPYITAW: A mother's love knows no bounds. Amy Wong has been shuttling between the hotel and Games Village for the last three days to pass a serving of Chinese herbal soup for her son Daniel Bego.

And it was just the right tonic for Daniel to power his way to victory in the men’s 400m freestyle at the Wunna Theikdi Aquatic Center on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Daniel was the first to hit the wall at the end of the first lap and he maintained the pace till the end to finish in 3:54.89, claiming what was his 10th gold medal in SEA Games swimming.

Vietnam’s Hoang Quy Phuoc took silver with 3:57.73 while Thailand’s Kittiya Tanakrit took bronze with 3:59.00.

Kevin Yeap, who won the race in Palembang two years ago, did not swim well and placed fifth this time in 4:00.75.

But thankfully, there was Daniel, who must have thought a 10th gold medal in SEA Games swimming would have been impossible to secure afer having had both his shoulders operated on two years ago.

He had to go on a long rehabilitation process and missed the chance to swim in Palembang two years ago.

Daniel had previously made a big splash, claiming five gold medals in new record times in Vientiane in 2009.

On Saturday, he however did not manage to improve on his personal best of 3:53.99, which is also the existing SEA Games record for the 400m freestyle. But he had no reason to be disappointed at all.

“Thanks for reminding me that it’s my 10th gold medal. Words cannot describe how it feels.

“I never thought I would be able to stand on top of the podium again.

“I swam aggressively at the start as I knew I could control the pace.

“I would love to swim a faster time but I am happy, anyway,” said Daniel, who also bagged a silver together with Welson Sim, Vernon Lee and Lim Ching Hwang in 4x100m freestyle in a new national record time of 3:26.98. (The Malaysians were initially credited with a bronze but silver medallists Indonesia were later disqualified).

Daniel was also part of the quartet that previously set the mark at 3:27.87 in Vientiane in 2009.

Unlike Daniel, Khoo Cai Lin did not have her mother’s herbal soup and instead relied on true grit as she came back from fever the day before to retain her 800m freestyle title, providing double cheer for the Malaysians.

Cai Lin, completed her SEA Games outing in Myanmar on a high after clocking 8:49.51 to win the 800m freestyle gold ahead of Thailand’s Benjaporn Sriphanomthorn, who pushed hard for silver in 8:49.61.

Khoo Cai Lin and Daniel Bego (right) capture the moment, after winning the women's 800m freestyle and men's 400m freestyle respectively at the SEA Games on Dec 14, 2013.

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