|Welson Sim on his way to winning the men’s 1500m freestyle gold medal in the Malaysian Open. MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI / The Star.|
SHAH ALAM: Youngster Welson Sim presented his biggest fan – mum Lee Ngiat Kim – an ideal gift on Mother’s Day.
The 19-year-old Sarawakian splashed to his third gold medal and an Olympic B cut after winning the men’s 1,500m freestyle in the Malaysian Open Swimming Championships at the Shah Alam Aquatic Centre on Sunday.
With his mother and family members cheering from the stands, Welson completed the gruelling race in 15:35.63 to dip under the Rio Olympic B time of 15:46.79.
India’s Sajan Prakash took the silver in 15:47.68 while Indonesia’s Aflah Fadlan Prawira clocked 16:00.79 to bag the bronze.
It’s the second B cut for Welson, having posted 50.32 in the 100m freestyle at the National Age-Group Championships at the same venue in March.
Welson also made the A cut in the 200m and 400m freestyle at the Singapore National Age-Group Championships, also in March. He is the first Malaysian to qualify for the Olympics under two A times.
“I’m happy that my mum is here to see me swim. I was all motivated to make my family happy today as it’s also Mother’s Day. I’m glad that I managed to record my personal best in the 1,500m freestyle although I’ve not focused on this event for some time,” said Welson, who will be heading to Melbourne next weekend for a two-week training stint as part of his build-up to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.
“The two-week training stint will be good as I will be training at the club where Australian freestyle swimmer Mack Horton is based.
“He is ranked first in the world this year and a bronze medallist at last year’s World Championships. It’s going to be a very good experience.
“I have three competitions in Europe coming up next month. I will try to improve on my 1,500m freestyle personal best time,” added Welson, who won the 200m and 400m freestyle earlier in the week.