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Sunday April 8, 2012

Daniel boosts hopes of earning a second straight Olympic ticket

KUALA LUMPUR: Daniel Bego gave his hopes of earning a second consecutive Olympic appearance a boost by winning the 50m butterfly race at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil.

It was a welcome return to the pool for the 23-year-old after a year out recovering from shoulder injuries.

I haven’t competed for so long and just want to see where I stand at the moment. —DANILE BEGO

Daniel won the 50m butterfly, in the 18 and over category, in 26.38 for Sarawak while Kuala Lumpur’s Andrew Loh was second (26.43) in the national age-group meet, which doubles up as an Olympic qualifier.

While it was far from his best, Daniel, who holds the national record of 24.38, will take heart with his progress as he only resumed training early this year.

Daniel underwent two operations on his shoulder to correct a long-standing bone spur problem in April and June last year.

He subsequently missed the chance to defend the five SEA Games gold medals he won in Laos 2009 as the doctor ruled that he was not ready for the strains of competition in Indonesia last November.

Daniel, who finished second in the 100m freestyle on the first day of competition on Friday, did not harbour high expectations on his comeback.

“I haven’t competed for so long and just want to see where I stand at the moment,” said Daniel, who was the Best Sportsman of the Laos 2009 for breaking four Games records.

Daniel has to meet the Olympic invitational time before the end of June to have any chance of competing in the London Games.

He only has the Malaysian Open next month and the inaugural South-East Asia Open championship in Singapore in June to beat the qualifying mark.

The Selangor juniors were in record-breaking mood in the girls’ 50m butterfly races yesterday.

Asmalia Filzati Redzuan erased Erika Kong’s meet record of 30.19 set in 2008 in winning the girls’ 11-12 in 30.11 while Yap Siew Hui smashed a seven-year mark in the girls’ 13-14.

Siew Hui clocked 28.95 to better Leung Chii Lin’s previous record of 29.60 set in 2005.

Annika Winsnes also rewrote Chii Lin’s meet record of 28.91 in the girls’ 15-17 with a winning time of 28.83.

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