Saturday, 23 May 2015

Star Online : Swimmer Christina lowering the bar for SEA Games


PUTRAJAYA: United States-based swimmer Christina Loh (pic) is not setting too high a target for the Singapore SEA Games from June 5-16.

The 20-year-old Christina left the national training programme to pursue her studies at the Indian River State College in Florida last August.

The Penang-born swimmer returned three weeks ago to prepare for the biennial Games but she has her work cut out for her as she seeks to defend the 100m and 200m breaststroke gold medals she won at the Myanmar Games in 2013.

“It’s always nice to be back home ... I miss a lot of things here,” said Christina.

“I’m only competing in two events in Singapore – the 100m and 200m breaststroke – because I’m still trying to get my rhythm back.

“I’ve only been back three weeks and the training here is a little different from the US. There, I usually go through short courses while it’s mostly long courses here.

“Progress has been good but I’m not setting the bar too high this time. A realistic target will be to set new personal bests in both events.

“It’ll be tough because the swimmers from Thailand and Singapore would’ve improved and will be hard to beat this time.”

Christina has a personal best of 1:10.55 for the 100m breaststroke is and 2:32.56 for the 200m breaststroke. Both were achieved during her double gold medal feat in Myanmar two years ago.

Her times are not too far from the SEA Games records of 1:09.82 (100m breaststroke) and 2:30.35 (200m breaststroke) set by Malaysia’s Siow Yi Ting in the 2009 Games in Laos.

The other swimmers in the women’s team heading for Singapore are Khoo Cai Lin, Erika Kong, Yap Siew Hui, Chui Lai Kwan, Phee Jing En, Angela Chieng and Carolyn Chan.

The men’s team comprise Daniel Bego, Welson Sim, Wong Fu Kang, Lim Ching Hwang, Kevin Yeap, Tern Jian Han, Shaun Yap, Vernon Lee and Alwyn Tan.

,Meanwhile a total of 413 athletes out of 659 turned up for the first day of the SEA Games camp at a leading hotel in Putrajaya on Friday.

“I’m actually very happy with the turnout ... most of the athletes are here and those who are absent are either involved in a competition or training overseas (diving),” said chef de mission Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria.

“Hopefully, more will join the camp because this is the only chance for everyone to be a team.”

A total of 413 Singapore SEA Games-bound athletes came for the first day of the camp at a leading hotel on Friday. - RAJA FAISAL / The Star

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