SEREMBAN: Swimmer Daniel Bego (pic) proved to be one tireless young athlete indeed.
Barely hours after returning from the Singapore Athens Olympic qualifying trials, Daniel bagged three gold medals for Sarawak in his age-group category in the National Junior Aquatics Championships at the Paroi Swimming Complex yesterday.
The 15-year-old came out tops in the 100m backstroke and 400m freestyle individual events. Daniel later anchored the Sarawak quartet to clinch the 4x100m freestyle relay event.
In the 100m backstroke, Daniel came within a whisker of shattering one of the longest standing junior record in the country.
Daniel clocked a winning time of 1:02.80, just 0.22 seconds outside Lim Keng Liat's record set 10 years ago.
Sarawakian teammate Melvin Chua was well beaten into second place with his time of 1:06.75 while Dimitriy Sinkov bagged the bronze for Kuala Lumpur on 1:06.83.
Melvin was again beaten to the gold in the 400m freestyle. Daniel touched home in 4:22.60, followed by Melvin with 4:22.35. Kevin Yeap of Perak took the bronze with 4:25.62.
Daniel, who was named the 2003 MSSM-Milo National Sportsboy of the Year last week, did not set any new meet record but he was still delighted to have ended his first day in the meet in winning fashion.
“I was a bit tired after competing in Singapore. I returned early this morning (yesterday morning) by train with the rest of the swimmers from the Gemilang 2006 squad. But I am still happy to have finished first in all my events for Sarawak,” said the Miri-born swimmer, who is expected to shine in the Sukma (Malaysian Games) next month.
In the Singapore qualifying trials for the Athens Olympics, Daniel bagged three gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle.
However, he failed to secure a place in Athens in the freestyle events. Daniel had targeted qualification in the 200m freestyle event but finished outside the qualifying time of 1:55.08. He only clocked 1:56.20 in the event.
However, Daniel will still have a chance of making it to the Olympics when he compete in the Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur from June 23-26.
Sabah wonder girl Leung Chii Lin continued to rule the pools in her age-group category. The 12-year-old took her tally to eight titles when she won the 50m breaststroke and butterfly, 400m freestyle and 400m individual medley races yesterday.
Chii Lin smashed the age-group records for the 50m breaststroke and butterfly events.
In the 50m breaststroke, Chii Lin beat her own record of 35.60 set last year when she clocked 36.18.
Chii Lin also dipped under Nadia Kho's one-year-old 50m butterfly record of 30.83 when she finished in 30.65.