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Tuesday April 10, 2012

States unhappy with decision to invite foreign swimmers

KUALA LUMPUR: The participation of foreign contestants for the first time in the just concluded national age-group swimming championships in Bukit Jalil did not go down well with the state teams.

The meet organisers, the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia, extended invitations to swimmers from Hong Kong, India and Guam in the hope that it would help provide the push for the national swimmers to reach Olympic qualifying standards.

However, it turned out otherwise as the states cried foul on discovering that the foreign swimmers were also competing for the medals.

Ten states signed a letter of protest and Selangor Amateur Swimming Association secretary Helen Chang said it is their hope the national body will restrict future national age-group meets to locals.

“We were only informed at the team managers’ meeting that swimmers from other countries would be vying for the medals as well.

“We felt they shouldn’t be awarded points or medals for any of the age groups. Any competition, local or foreign, is good for our young swimmers but it shouldn’t deprive them of the chance for glory and honours.

“They have worked very hard to achieve success at national level and it is most disheartening when they have nothing to show for it as the foreigners claimed the medals.

“It was a surprise to see the foreign swimmers competing in the other age-group categories other than 18 and above,” said Helen.

Hong Kong emerged overall champions at the end of the three-day meet with 52-39-47 followed by Selangor (37-33-25) and Kuala Lumpur (27-27-21).

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