Meet the youngest Malaysian ever in the Ironman World Championship

  • People
  • Friday, 12 Oct 2018

Lim Chee Yong at the 2017 Ironman Langkawi, where he won third place. Next stop: Hawaii. He will be the youngest Malaysian and the first Langkawian to participate in the Ironman World Championship to be held in Hawaii on Oct 13, 2018.

Swimming coach Lim Chee Yong won third place in his age group (18-24 years old), with a time of 11:45:25, at the 2017 Ironman Malaysia event held in Langkawi, Kedah. The icing on the cake was being crowned the Best Langkawian at the same event.

His win automatically qualified him for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, which will be held tomorrow. He will compete with top qualifiers from around the world.

Born in Langkawi, on Sept 29, 1997, Lim is the eldest of three siblings.

After he completed his secondary schooling, he took up running. At first, he ran distances of 3km, 5km and 10km. Gradually, he developed an interest in long-distance running. His first long-distance run covered 30km, just after a month of running.

He has his uncle to thank for introducing him to Ironman Malaysia. After seeing his capabilities, his uncle – who is also a triathlete himself – suggested that Lim try the triathlon and registered him for the 2016 Ironman Malaysia.

For the World Championship in Hawaii, Lim will be the first Langkawian and the youngest Malaysian ever to compete.

In April, he took part in the 2018 Ironman 70.3 Bintan in Indonesia. He came in second in the 18-24 years category.

“You have to be passionate, consistent and disciplined in order to achieve your goals,” says Lim.

“Most importantly, is enjoy your race, your surroundings and also the pain!” he quipped.͟

Below is a Q&A with the sportsman.

What is your greatest strength?

My love and passion for this sport.

How do you handle stress and pressure?

By asking friends for their advice and opinions and trying to visualise a solution for a win-win outcome. And stay calm and focus on the big picture.

What has been your greatest accomplishment as an athlete?

The moment I crossed the finish line and found out that I had finished top three in my age group (18-24 years old) for 2017 Ironman Malaysia and qualified for Ironman Kona World Championship 2018!

What excites you the most about a career as an athlete?

To beat my personal best for triathlon races and try my best to inspire people to follow their dreams!

You are a part-time swimming coach. How do you find time for training?

I’m a part-time swim coach under the Gogetter Triathlon Squad. Normally our coaching class starts from late evening until night, so I train two sessions per day (morning and afternoon) before I start my coaching session.

Can you list down five fun facts about yourself?

i. I learnt how to swim via YouTube, three months before 2016 Ironman Malaysia (my first ever triathlon race).

ii. Never been overseas before. My upcoming race in Kona is my first overseas trip!

iii. Never travelled alone before.

iv. I have a big appetite!

v. Mummy’s Boy.

Can you share with us your nutrition plan when doing triathlon?

For Ironman distance, I will have breakfast (two pieces of bread and hot drinks) two to two-and-a-half hours before a race. For Bike Leg, I will have one energy gel every 45 minutes, one organic energy bar and two bottles of ultra-endurance drinks. For Run Leg, I will take one energy gel every 30 minutes. For post-race, I make sure to have my usual recovery drink, which is a whey protein drink.

You are the first Langkawian to qualify for Ironman Kona in Hawaii. How do you feel about that?

I feel very grateful and lucky to have strong support from LADA’s (Langkawi Development & Authority) and Langkawian friends in my journey to Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. I’m proud to represent Langkawi and Malaysia in my biggest dream race ever! I will try my very best to finish strong in one of the toughest races in the world, and make Langkawi and Malaysia proud!

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