PETALING JAYA: The Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Kuching later this month is off limits to young swimmer Phee Jinq En now that she has made the cut under the Universality spot for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Jinq En secured her Olympic ticket in the women's 100m breaststroke after the aquatics governing body, FINA, allocated about 30 places for B qualifiers for the 26 individual events for swimming.
The fact that Singapore, the swimming powerhouse in the region, could not qualify a woman swimmer is an indication of the competitiveness of the sport.
Their top swimmer Quah Ting Wen, who splashed to four golds in the Singapore SEA Games last year, is taking up the wildcard ticket to swim in the 100m butterfly.
|Jinq En holds the 100m breaststroke national record of 1:08.65.|
“I never thought I’d qualify. Even if you set a good time, there’s no guarantee you’d be able to go,” said Jinq En, who set the 100m breaststroke national record of 1:08.65 at the Malaysian Open in May.
She will join Welson Sim as the two Malaysian swimmers at the Rio Games. Welson qualified under the A category for men’s 200m and 400m freestyle.
Jinq En will now have to give up the chance of a breaststroke double for Selangor at the Sukma in Kuching as national coach Paul Birmingham Thomas plans to take her and Welson to Florida, the United States, next week for training.
“It’s (the Olympics) pretty special for me as I’ll get to see swimming legend Michael Phelps in the last race of his career,” said Jinq En.
“We will train at Fort Lauderdale. We’ll be there to adapt to the time zone before going straight to Rio.
“For the Olympics, if I can swim a personal best, or even close to it, would be good for me.”
With Jinq En confirmed and track sprinter Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli getting a wildcard to race in the women's 100m, Malaysia will have 32 athletes at the Rio Games.
THE 32 RIO-BOUND ATHLETES
Khairul Anuar Mohamad, Haziq Kamaruddin, Muhd Akmal Nor Hasrin (archery); Nauraj Singh Randhawa, Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli (athletics); Lee Chong Wei, Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong, Tee Jing Yi, Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (badminton); Pandelela Rinong, Wendy Ng Yan Yee, Cheong Jun Hoong, Nur Dhabitah Sabri, Ahmad Amsyar Azman, Ooi Tze Liang (diving); Azizulhasni Awang, Fatehah Mustapa (track cycling); Welson Sim, Phee Jinq En, Heidi Gan (swimming); Johnathan Wong Guangjie (shooting); Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy, Nur Shazrin Mohd Latif (sailing); Mohd Hafifi Mansor (weightlifting); Danny Chia, Gavin Kyle Green, Kelly Tan, Michelle Koh (golf).