KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Junior Open swimming championships at the Kuala Lumpur Swimming Complex next month will be an all-local affair.
The Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia's (Asum) secretary,Edwin Chong, said yesterday that China, Singapore and Thailand, who had earlier confirmed participation, had withdrawn from the championships, scheduled from May 2-4.
“The Chinese swimmers was forced to withdraw because they could not get visas to travel overseas due to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome),” said Edwin.
“It is sad that they will not be here. They have some of the best junior swimmers and divers in Asia and their presence would have made the competition interesting.”
He added that Singapore also chose not to come because of SARS while Thailand withdrew because the championships clashed with their domestic competitions.
Edwin also said that Indonesia were unlikely to accept their invitation to compete in the meet because of financial constraints.
“We hope our juniors will put up good performances and shatter some meet records.
“We expect all the 2006 Asian Games Project squad members to compete in swimming and diving,” he said.
Among those in the Project squad are swimmers Daniel Bego, Koo Lai Cin, Chui Lai Kwan and Ong Ming Xiu while the divers are James Sandayud and Gracie Junita.
The championships have four age-groups for both boys and girls – Under-10, Under-12, Under-14 and Under-17.
The Malaysia Junior Open is an annual meet.
In last year's championships in Sarawak, the foreign swimmer in the fray were Singaporeans and Thais.