Friday, 20 March 2015

The Star Online : Wei Puong swims away with 12 gold medals in MSSM


SHAH ALAM: Hii came, Hii saw. Hii conquered.

And Hii Wei Puong is only 12 years old.

But that didn’t stop him from producing one of the greatest exhibitions in MSSM (national schools) aquatic history to capture 12 gold medals.

Although it was achieved in the 12 and below age category, it is still a phenomenal achievement.

Last year he did not win a single medal in the championships.

Wei Puong may have grabbed 12 gold medals in the MSSM meet, but he misses out on the best overall swimmer award. - ART CHEN / The Star

Wei Puong made it a dazzling dozen when he anchored Sarawak to victory in the 4x50m freestyle relay on the final day of the competition at the Shah Alam Aquatic Centre.

The quartet of Wei Puong, Joey Wong, Eddy Yong and Lau Teck Lung were in a class of their own to clock 1:58.06 – beating Penang (2:02.02) by almost four seconds. Malacca settled for bronze in 2:02.20.

Wei Puong’s 11 other gold medals came in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle, 50m and 100m butterfly, 50m and 100m backstroke, 50m and 100m breaststroke, 200m individual medley and 4x50m medley relay.

He is definitely one to watch out for in the local swimming scene.

Wei Puong clearly doesn’t lack ambition.

The SRK Chung Hwa student has set himself two targets which he hopes to achieve in the next four years – break into the national team and become a SEA Games champion.

“To win 12 out 12 events is unbelievable. I don’t think I can achieve such a feat when I move up to higher group age,” said Wei Puong.

“My only regret is that none of the 12 victories were meet records.

“I’m looking forward to improving myself further after this meet. It’s my ambition to be a national swimmer in three or four years’ time and compete in the SEA Games.”

Despite his remarkable feat, it was Selangor’s Ng Yi Hao who was named best overall swimmer in the boys’ category – thanks to his two meet records in the 50m and 100m breaststroke events of the 16-18 age category.

On Monday, the 16-year-old Yi Hao clocked 1:06.04 to erase the previous mark of 1:06.70 set by Tang Chong Heng last year. Then, two days later, he clocked 2:20.84 to better Ian James Barr’s 2:25.85 set in 2011.

Yi Hao’s impressive performance is good news for national coach Paul Birmingham, who has only two breaststroke specialists in Yap See Tuan and Shaun Yap.

The’ best overall swimmer award in the girls’ category went to Selangor’s Asmalia Filzati Redzuan, thanks to her solitary record in the 200m freestyle. Her time of 2:09.22 beat Lai Wei Li’s six-year-old mark of 2:09.51.

Only nine meet records were set in the five-day championships compared to 21 last year.

Hosts Selangor again reigned supreme in aquatics with a 44-25-21 medal haul. Sarawak (24-16-18) were second and Kuala Lumpur (11-22-14) third.

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