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Heidi to check out SEA Games course at Asian Open

PETALING JAYA: Australia-based Heidi Gan (pic) will get a chance to gauge the Kuala Lumpur Games course when she competes in the Asian Open Water Swimming Champion­ships at the Putrajaya Lake from May 19-21.

The two-time Olympian is leaving no stone unturned in her bid for a third SEA Games gold. The Games’ open water swimming competition on Aug 18 will also be held at the Putrajaya Lake.

The 28-year-old Heidi, who lives in Perth, won both the 5,000m and 10,000m golds when the sport was contested for the first time in Indonesia in 2011. But the next two hosts — Myanmar (2013) and Singapore (2015) — did not include open water swimming in their aquatic programmes.

After waiting for six years, Heidi will get to defend her 10,000m title in Kuala Lumpur. The 5,000m, however, will not be contested this time.

Amateur Swimming Union of Ma­­lay­sia secretary Mae Chen said Heidi will skip the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hun­gary, in July to focus on the Games.

“Heidi is ranked No. 1 in South-East Asia and we hope she can win the gold again. We are hosting the Asian Open for the first time and it will be a good opportunity for Heidi to check out the course.

“Malaysia can enter two male and two female swimmers for the Ga­­mes. Kevin Yeap and Heidi are al­­ready assured of a place. We will de­­cide later who will join them,” said Mae.

Meanwhile, Olympian swimmer Welson Sim will also be taking part in the Asian Open as part of his run-up to the Aug 19-30 Games. The other swimmers – Vernon Lee, Wong Jun Bin and Angela Chieng – are also in the fray.

SEA Games 2017 , lth