Friday, 9 May 2014

The Star : Malaysia youngsters swim their way to world champs


KUALA LUMPUR: Lim Ching Hwang and Christina Loh lived up to their reputation as the young torchbearers for Malaysia by meeting qualifying times for next year’s World Championships at the Malaysian Open swimming championships at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil.

Lim Ching Hwang won the men’s 100m freestyle at the Malaysian Open swimming championships on Thursday to qualify for the World Championships in Russia next year. - Filepic

Ching Hwang won the men’s 100m freestyle in an impressive 51.12 on Thursday, which is the B qualifying time for the World Championships in Russia next year.

Singapore’s Danny Yeo was second in 51.67 while Sarawak’s Welson Sim clocked 52.22 to take the bronze.

Singapore-based Ching Hwang was delighted to open his campaign with a gold despite the lack of proper training. He is looking to bag a second gold in the 200m freestyle on Friday.

He bagged Malaysia’s first-ever gold in the 200m freestyle at the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing last year. He has already qualified for three events – 100m and 200m freestyle as well as the 200m individual medley – in the Youth Olympics in Nanjing in August.

“I just want to swim some good times here. Although it’s not my fastest (he achieved a personal best of 50.86 at the Singapore National Age-Group Championships in March last year), I am satisfied,” said Ching Hwang.

“I am swimming in seven events and I am using these championships to train for the individual medley as well.

“I have some competitions coming up, including the Sukma in Perlis at the end of the month and the SEA age-group in Indonesia next month before going to compete in the Youth Olympics,” added the 18-year-old Ching Hwang, who swam the 100m breaststroke on Thursday for the first time and managed to finish sixth.

Christina, the Myanmar SEA Games double gold medallist, raced to a new meet record in winning her pet 100m breaststroke event.

The 19-year-old clocked 1:10.63 to dip under the World Championships’ B qualifying mark of 1:10.75 to beat Singapore’s Samantha Louisa Yeo (1:11.71) to the gold.

It was Christina’s fastest effort this season and she erased the meet record of 1:10.73 set by compatriot Siow Yi Ting, the former SEA Games gold medallist, last year.

Myanmar SEA Games gold medallist Daniel Bego was a notable absenteee as his shoulder injury flared up again.

National coach Paul Birmingham said Daniel will not be considered for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July as a result of his absence.

“He may also miss the Incheon Asian Games in September if he is unable to return to training soon. He has only came back a few times to kick some water and not doing any proper training.

“The doctor has advised Daniel not to go for the Commonwealth Games as his shoulders are giving him problems again,” added Birmingham.

Daniel made a successful comeback from three operations on both his shoulders to win the 400m freestyle gold in Myanmar.

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