NAYPYITAW: A viral infection almost wrecked long distance swimmer Kevin Yeap’s SEA Games dream but he is relieved to have seen the worst of it.
And Kevin is more determined than ever to stamp his mark as the region’s top middle and long distance male swimmer when the swimming competition gets under way at the Wunna Theikdi Aquatic Centre Thursday.
|Kevin Yeap in a file photo. He sees team-mate Daniel Bego as his biggest challenger in the 400m freestyle event at the SEA Games.|
Kevin was stuck in bed as a result of the viral infection, causing him to not only miss two weeks of training but also shed a few kilos due to his weakened state.
“I had to skip the World Cup short-course meet in Singapore last month because of the viral infection.
“My body became so weak that I just slept for two days straight.
“I came back to training three weeks ago but I recovered and I’ve been much, much better since then,” said the 25-year-old who hails from Perak.
Kevin rose to the occasion to deliver gold in the 400m freestyle in the absence of defending champion Daniel Bego in Palembang two years ago.
However, he lost a chance to claim a double when he settled for silver behind Singapore’s Quah Zheng Wen in the 1,500m freestyle.
Two years have passed ,and having lowered his personal bests consistently, Kevin is optimistic he is in good condition to fight for a double in Naypyitaw this time.
On his competition, Kevin reckons Daniel to be his strongest challenger in the defence of his 400m freestyle title.
Kevin set a new national mark of 3:53.26 at the Malaysian Open in Bukit Jalil in May, erasing Daniel’s mark of 3:53.99 set in winning the event at the Laos SEA Games.
“Daniel is swimming close to my personal best and he did well in the World Cup meet in Singapore last month although it’s a short-course meet.
”There is a young Thai boy (Tanakrit Kittiya) but he is a few seconds slower than me, so I feel it will be a fight between me and Daniel for the 400m freestyle.”
On the longer distance race, Kevin, who has a personal best of 15:32.51 set at the Malaysian Open last year, said it will be harder as Zheng Wen is the swimmer to beat.
“The only thing is I heard he went for national service a few months ago, so we don’t know his current form. But he should be preparing well like me, so we have to see,” said Kevin, who is also swimming in the 4x200m freestyle relay.