|National swimmer Lim Ching Hwang has not been released by his school Ohio State University, to compete at the Incheon Asian Games beginning Sept 19. - Filepic|
PETALING JAYA: It was a dream come true for swimmer Lim Ching Hwang when he began the first day of his first year at the Ohio State University (OSU) on Aug 27.
But that joy soon turned sour when the 18-year-old was told by OSU swimming head coach Bill Wadley that he would not be released for the Asian Games, to be held in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 19-Oct 4.
Asian Youth Games champion Ching Hwang is slated to compete in several individual freestyle events as well as anchoring the national quartet in the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relay races.
Ching Hwang, who flew directly to the United States from Nanjing after the Youth Olympic Games on Aug 24, confirmed that he will not be making his Asiad debut.
Malaysia will now withdraw from the two relay events. As such, two swimmers – Alwyn Tan and Vernon Lee – can forget about their Incheon trip because they did not qualify for any individual events.
“Yes, I won’t be going to the Asian Games,” said Ching Hwang from the US.
“It was a hard decision to make ... as it affects my other team-mates – Vernon and Alwyn. I want to apologise to them.
“The head coach has insisted that I stay because I’ve just enrolled and the first semester will be very challenging.
“I understand why the varsity didn’t want to release me. It’s for my own good.
“I only arrived two weeks ago ... it’s important for me to settle down and get used to the routine here first as everything is still new to me.
“I will go back next time. I will never say no to representing Malaysia.”
Ching Hwang is pursuing an economics degree, which will take four to five years to complete.