Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The Star : Malaysian Open an opportunity for swimmers to get tickets to Rio


PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Open swimming championships, starting Thursday at the Shah Alam Aquatic Centre, will give Phee Jinq En and Khoo Cai Lin the chance to inch closer to joining Welson Sim on board the plane to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Welson has already made the cut under category A for the men's 200m and 400m freestyle events.

Swimmers who make the A time are assured of competing in the Olympics, while those who dip under the B time will have to wait until the middle of July to know if they’ll make it to Rio.

Eighteen-year-old Jinq En stands a bright chance of making her Olympic debut after setting a new national record of 1:08.99 in the 100m breaststroke at the Singapore national age-group meet in March. Her effort is well under the Olympic B time of 1:10.22.

Cai Lin, meanwhile, just made it under the B time of 4:17.80 for the women’s 400m freestyle after clocking 4:17.79 at the Singapore SEA Games last year. However, it won’t be enough to see her make a third Olympic appearance after Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012 unless she improves on her timing.

Cai Lin is still in the waiting list to qualify for Rio de Janeiro Olympics after clocking just under B time of 4:17.80 in the 400m freestyle at the Singapore SEA Games last year.

The others who have already made it under the B times are Chui Lai Kwan (women's 50m freestyle), Wong Fu Kang (men's 100m breaststroke) and Alywn Tan (men's 100m freestyle).

“We have a few swimmers who are under the B cut, but they’ve no chance of getting a place in Rio ... especially for the sprint freestyle races,” said national coach Paul Birmingham.

“Jinq En swims the 100m breaststroke on the first day of Malaysian Open ... hopefully, she can get a good time.

“Jinq En or Cai Lin may possibly get into the Olympics under the B cut, but they have to improve on their timings to go higher in the ranking.

“As an Olympic qualifying meet, the Malaysian Open this year will be pretty competitive.

“We have good swimmers from India, Hong Kong and Indonesia also pushing for Olympic qualifying times, so we hope our swimmers will be able do fast times.

“Welson’s place in the Olympics is already secured, so I want him to take it easy ... but it’s full steam ahead for the others.”


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