KUALA LUMPUR: Seniors Kevin Yeap and Khoo Cai Lin rose to the occasion to book their World Championships spots in their pet events on a day Olympic hopeful Wong Jun Bin also shone as the national age-group swimming championships came to an end at the Bukit Jalil Aquatic Centre.
|Swimmer Kevin Yeap qualified for next year's World Championships in Russia after clocking 3:58.43 in the 400m freestyle event at the national age-group meet in Bukit Jalil on Sunday. - Filepic|
Kevin and Cai Lin became the first two swimmers on Sunday to meet qualifying standards for the World Championships in the three-day meet. Myanmar SEA Games gold medallist Cai Lin clocked 4:21.02 to break the meet record of 4:29.40 in the girls’ Open 400m freestyle.
Her winning time saw her going under the B qualifying time of 4:21.31 for the event at next year’s world meet in Kazan, Russia.
Perak swimmer Kevin held off a strong challenge from his training partner Vernon Lee to win the boys’ Open 400m freestyle in 3:58.43.
Kevin’s time was also under the World Championships B qualifying mark of 3:58.95.
Singapore-based swimmer Jun Bin showed that he is a swimmer to watch out for in the middle and long distances after dominating the boys’ 13-14 age-group category.
The 14-year-old bagged four gold medals for hosts Kuala Lumpur and three of those were in record times.
Jun Bin came out tops in the 400m individual medley, 100m and 200m as well as 1,500m freestyle.
He took silver in the rest of his events – 100m and 200m butterfly as well as 400m freestyle – only losing to Hong Kong swimmers.
Jun Bin has been studying in Singapore under a sports school scholarship since last year and is hopeful of making a strong appearance in the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Perlis next month.
It will be tough, however, for Jun Bin as Sarawak’s national swimmer Welson Sim will be the favourite in the middle and long distance events at the moment.
But Jun Bin is ready to bide his time.
“I’m still young and happy with where I am now. It will be my second Sukma next month and swimmers like Welson and Vernon (Lee from Sabah) are definitely stronger.
“But picking up some medals will be great, especially as I have yet to win any at Sukma,” said Jun Bin, who was fifth in 400m and 1,500m freestyle at the last Sukma in Kuantan two years ago.
Hong Kong emerged overall winners with a medal haul of 62-49-45. Selangor (33-30-24) and Kuala Lumpur (25-31-27) finished second and third respectively.