VETERAN rower Khoo Boo Hock, who qualified as Asia’s best rower in his age category two weeks ago, did the country proud by being the first Malaysian to compete in the World Rowing Indoor Championship virtual race.
The 61-year-old Penangite finished eighth out of 10 finalists in the Men’s Masters 60-64 age category of the race hosted
by the Hong Kong Rowing Association.
Khoo, who used the Concept 2 brand static rowing ergometer just like the other competitors, clocked 7:52.4 during the 2,000m race, which was held at the Penang State Sports Council (PSSC) office in Gelugor, Penang, recently.
“This is my first time rowing here and I believe I can do better once I am familiar with the environment.
“I will try my best to qualify again, ” said Khoo after his performance.
Khoo finished ahead of Richard Cheeseman of Britain (8:21.1) and Martin Luirink of Netherlands, who failed to start the race because of bad Internet connection.
The event was won by Giorgio Vallebouna of Chile in 6:35.9, followed by Italy’s Massimo Galletti (6:38.0) and Nick Cowan of Britain (6:45.9).
Penang youth and sports committee chairman Soon Lip Chee was among a dozen supporters at PSSC to give Khoo moral support.
Soon said he was proud of Khoo for achieving the feat.
“This is the first time the World Championship is held virtually and I want to congratulate Khoo on being the first Malaysian from Penang to qualify for the event.
“He had been preparing hard for the event for the last three months, with no time to rest even during Chinese New Year.
“At 61, he has proven he can stay fit and healthy, ” added Soon.
PSSC director Harry Chai Heng Hua, who was also present, extended his appreciation to the Penang Rowing Association for planning, supervising and executing the event.
“Uncle Khoo, who was previously active in dragon boat races, has successfully proven himself to be the fastest man in Asia in his age group for the 2km rowing.
“It is historic to be the first Malaysian ever to qualify for the finals round, ” said Chai.