Siow Yi Ting is the only Malaysian female swimmer to compete in three Olympic Games.
PETALING JAYA: Siow Yi Ting has quit the national swimming team in what is a blow to the country just three months ahead of the Myanmar SEA Games.
Yi Ting, who has represented the country for more than a decade, has not only won a total of 10 gold medals in six SEA Games appearances but is also the only Malaysian female swimmer to compete in three Olympic Games.
Yi Ting made her Olympic debut in Sydney 2000 and qualified for the subsequent editions in Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008).
She is also the current SEA Games record holder for the 100m and 200m breaststroke as well as 200m individual medley.
Her age and the frustration of having to deal with a growth on her neck eventually saw her calling it a day. The Negri Sembilan-born lass will be 28 on Dec 11.
Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) secretary Edwin Chong said Yi Ting has voiced her intention to quit swimming completely.
“Yi Ting came to see me and said she wanted to stop swimming. She feels that she has lost the motivation to swim although the SEA Games is just around the corner.
“It is not easy at her age to cope with the intensity of training and she feels it is hard to get motivated at this point.
“She also has a growth on her neck and it is slowing her when she does the breaststroke.
“She can feel the pain on her neck as her arms are stroking the water.
“She was considering surgery and I told her to get the necessary treatment from the National Sports Institute.
“I also told her to consider going for her last SEA Games in Myanmar and that no one would fault her if she does not come back with a gold medal. But I think she has made up her mind.
“Anyway, she has done more than enough. She continued to swim for the country and delivered medals after she completed her university studes in the United States,” said Edwin.
Yi Ting was on top of her game at the Laos SEA Games in 2009 where she splashed to three gold medals in new record times.
She then took time off to complete her studies at the University of Arkansas and graduated with a BA in Arts and Sculpture before returning home to train at Bukit Jalil under Australian coach Paul Birmingham.
Yi Ting’s father Siow Kian Wah confirmed his daughter has stopped going to the pool.
“I have advised her to consider stopping for some time as we don’t see a future once she has reached a certain level.
“As a father, I respect her decision and I think she has contributed more than enough,” he said.
Yi Ting has never failed to deliver at least one gold medal since the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in 2001.
The only one she missed was in Manila in 2005 which she skipped to focus on her exams.
With Yi Ting absent, the challenge of fighting for a SEA Games gold in the women’s breaststroke event will fall to Christina Loh and newcomer Phee Jing En.
Christina won the 50m breaststroke gold medal at the last SEA Games in Indonesia but the event is not contested in Myanmar this time.