PETALING JAYA: National freestyle swimmer Allen Ong is back in the country again after graduating with a computer science degree from the University of Minnesota in May.
However, the 24-year-old Allen does not intend to quit swimming yet to join the job market.
The Perak-born swimmer said that he was still interested in representing the country and he would make a bid to qualify for the Vietnam SEA Games in December and the Athens Olympics next year.
Allen, who is under the 2006 Asian Games training programme, has decided to begin training this week under Russian coach Vladislav Manikhine in Bukit Jalil.
He will try to beat the Games qualifying marks in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle in the Ong Kee Hui national inter-club championships at the Kuala Lumpur Swimming Complex in Cheras this weekend.
It will be the first time that Allen will swim at home since the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in 2001.
Besides the inter-club championships, I will also take part in the Malaysia Open in Kota Kinabalu in October, said Allen, who returned home three weeks ago.
I have not taken part in a swimming meet in Malaysia for sometime and I am looking forward to secure a place in the SEA Games in the individual freestyle events.
I cannot stay and train in United States anymore because my student visa has expired. I still enjoy swimming and competing for the country.
I made a request to the National Sports Council (NSC) to let me train in Bukit Jalil with the local swimmers until the SEA Games is over. I also have the Athens Olympics next year in my mind. I feel I can still push to win a place.
Allen holds the national records in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle.
Allen, who first represented the country in the Jakarta SEA Games in 1997, said that his main target now was to qualify for the SEA Games and work towards winning an individual gold medal in Vietnam.
In the previous edition in Kuala Lumpur two years ago, Allen won one gold, two silvers and a bronze.
The gold came from the 4x100m medley relay and the other members of the team were Lim Keng Liat, Elvin Chia and Anthony Ang. Allen won the silvers in the 100m freestyle and butterfly events. The bronze came from the 50m freestyle.
The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) have approved participation of the national men's and women's teams for aquatics in the Games.
The final squads will be finalised after the Malaysia Open from Oct 16-19. The closing date for submission of entries to OCM is a month before the Games, which begin on Dec 5.