Talents whip up a storm


PETALING JAYA: The national schools (MSSM) aquatic championships ended at Shah Alam Aquatic Centre yesterday after four glorious days of competition, with 26 meet records falling and two news stars stamping their mark on the sport. 

Eleven year-old Leung Chii Lin was the revelation of the meet. The pint-sized Sabahan lass, who only won a handful of silvers last year, competed in 10 events and won all of them. She also set seven meet records in the Under-12 category and was named the best female swimmer of the championships. 

Sarawak's Daniel Bego was named the best male swimmer for the second time. The 2006 Asian Games project swimmer took seven golds and set five new meet records in the Under-15 category. 

Swimmers like Selangor's 15 year-old girl Khoo Cai Lin also did well by taking seven golds as did David Lim, who broke a 10-year-old meet record in the 100m breaststroke. David completed a sweep in the Under-18 category by winning the 200m breaststroke event. 

But while the budding athletes can afford to bask in their glory, the organisers will have to mull over how to get the job done right. 

The opening day of the competition saw the organisers failing to come out with the complete list official results. 

A total of 20 events were completed but only five results were released late in the afternoon. The reason given? The computers had run into technical problems. 

The incident spoiled the day for the young swimmers, who had smashed the meet records and were looking forward to reading about their achievements in the newspapers the following day. 

The condition of the diving and warm-up pool was also questionable. The water appeared murky on the opening day because of the presence of algae. And some swimmers choose not to warm-up. 

Action was only taken to clean up the pool only after the diving events had finished for the day. 

National diving coach Yang Zhuliang, meanwhile, said that the 1m diving board was not in good working condition. 

One could not help but feel that the whole championships had been hastily organised. 

In squash, there were also complaints that the players had to cope with tight scheduling and some had to play three matches in a space of four hours. 

Perhaps it's time for the organisers – the Sports Unit of the Education Ministy – to work together with the sports associations concerned on how to run the events more smoothly. 

The teachers are volunteers and there is always a limit to their abilities. 

Some sports associations said they had been in the dark and only knew that the MSSM meets were going on when they read about it in the newspapers. 

The MSSM meets are where the nation's budding athletes begin to bloom. We should not nip them in the bud.  

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