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Monday November 19, 2012

Double duty in Barcelona

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian long distance swimmers Kevin Yeap and Khoo Cai Lin are set for double duty at the World Championships in Barcelona next July after winning a second quota spot for their respective pet events at the Asian Swimming Championships in Dubai.

Kevin finished fifth in the men’s 1,500m freestyle final in 15:40.87 on Saturday to dip under the world championship qualifying mark of 15:46.38.

It was a satisfactory end to his campaign as he only finished behind two Japanese and two Chinese swimmers in a top class list spearheaded by double Olympic champion Sun Yang.

Sun Yang, who trains in Australia, splashed to his third gold and a third championship record with a time of 14:44.10 in the longest race of the programme.

But it was well below his world record of 14:31.02, which he set at the London Olympics this year.

Kevin, the gold medallist at the Indonesia SEA Games last year, beat the qualifying time for the 400m freestyle in finishing fourth on Friday.

Cai Lin did not post a fast time in the women’s 400m freestyle final but her 4:17.88 gave her fifth placing and beat the world meet qualifying time of 4:18.55.

It was enough for her to book a second quota spot after achieving her first in the 800m freestyle at the London Olympics.

Xu Danlu led a Chinese sweep of the gold and silver with a new championship record of 4:05.75 ahead of compatriot Shao Yiwen (4:10.98).

Thailand’s Natthanan Junkrajang touched home ahead of Japan’s Tsuzumi Hasegawa to grab the bronze in 4:14.59.

The Dubai meet is a designated continental qualifying event for the World Championships and breaststroker Yap See Tuan was the only one of the three Malaysians to miss the mark.

See Tuan managed to reach the men’s 200m breaststroke final but finished seventh in 2:18.21.

He had been eighth in the 100m breaststroke in 1:04.48.

The Asian meet is held every four years and the synchro swimming competition ends today. Malaysia’s Lee sisters, Zyanne and Zylane, are currently placed fifth after the free duet discipline (73.690).

Olympic bronze medallists China lead with 94.040 points and second placed Japan (91.510) will find it hard to unseat their arch rivals unless they produce an exceptional performance in the technical discipline.

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