Siow makes it to Barcelona


KUALA LUMPUR: Seventeen-year-old Siow Yi Ting smashed the women’s 200m individual medley national record in the US spring national championships in Indianapolis to book her place in the World Championships in Barcelona in July. 

The Negri Sembilan clocked 2:19.22, shaving more than a second off the old mark of 2:20.64 set by Sia Wei Yen in the 1999 Brunei SEA Games. 

Yi Ting, who is studying and training at the Bolles School in Florida, was also well within the SEA Games qualifying mark of 2:21.80. 

Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) secretary Edwin Chong said they were proud of Yi Ting’s achievement. 

“She has become only the second swimmer to confirm her place in Barcelona. The other swimmer who will take part is Manchester Commonwealth Games silver and bronze medallist Lim Keng Liat,'' said Edwin. 

News of Yi Ting’s achievement was icing on the cake for ASUM who received a whopping RM1.2mil in sponsorships from a communication company - the Apex Communication Groups – yesterday. ASUM will receive RM300,000 a year for four years. 

ASUM president Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, who is also the Perlis Mentri Besar, signed the contract with Apex Communication Groups executive chairman Abdullah Ali at the Youth and Sports Ministry yesterday. 

ASUM received the sponsorship after some outstanding achievements by the national swimmers in the Manchester Games and Busan Asian Games last year. 

Sabahan Keng Liat won a silver in the 50m backstroke in Manchester, clocking 25.67, just 0.2 seconds behind world champion Matt Welsh of Australia. 

The silver was Malaysia’s first-ever swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games. 

Keng Liat also smashed his four year-old national record to clinch a bronze in the 100m backstroke in Manchester. He set a time of 55.44 to rewrite his national mark of 55.53. He also came close to beating Australian swimming sensation Ian Thorpe. 

In the Busan Games, Malaysia bagged a silver and three bronze medals. Keng Liat took the silver in the 100m backstroke while the bronzes were delivered by the synchronised divers. 

Shahidan said they were happy to receive the sponsorship. 

“We will use the money for development and also for competitions. We have done well in the Manchester Games and Busan Games and we promise to continue doing well at international level,” he said. 

Sports Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein, who was also present, said he hoped ASUM would strive to produce more world class swimmers like Keng Liat. 

“Four associations have received sponsorships in the last four months and we can expect another sports association to get sponsors this month.''  

The four sports are squash in January, karate-do in February, bowling in March and now swimming.  

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