KUALA LUMPUR: Fifteen-year-old swimmer Daniel Bego is not about to give up hope of qualifying for the Athens Olympics after he failed in an attempt in the Singapore Open last week.
The boy from Miri, who needed to beat the qualifying mark of 1:55.08 in the men's 200m freestyle, manged a 1:56.06.
The time he clocked in the meet in Singapore, which is a qualifier for the Olympics, was 0.30 seconds slower than his personal best of 1:55.36, which he set to win a bronze medal in the Vietnam SEA Games last year.
The Form Two student of the Bukit Jalil Sport School said that a hectic schedule prevented him from recording a good time in Singapore.
“The competitions in Singapore started last Tuesday and I only arrived in the republic on the eve of the meet because I had to stay back in Kuala Lumpur on Monday to receive the MSSM-Milo National Sportsboy Award for 2003,” he said.
“I also had to compete in three events – 50m 100m and 400m freestyle – before my pet event, the 200m freestyle, on the last day of the competition on Friday. And I was already tired on the final day of competition.”
Daniel added that although he has failed to do well in the Singapore Open, it would not stop him from making another attempt to get into the Olympics.
“I have one chance more to do it – in the Malaysian Open (from June 23-26 at the Kuala Lumpur Swimming Complex in Cheras).”
Daniel, who won seven gold medals in the just concluded national junior age-group aquatic championships in Seremban, added that he would train much harder to fulfil his dream of competing in the Olympics.
“I will use Sukma (Malaysia Games), starting in Negri Sembilan end of this month, as a warm-up for the Malaysian Open,” he said.
“I have not set any target for Sukma but I hope to do well by winning a few medals.”
To date four swimmers have earned places in the Athens Games. They are Lim Keng Liat, Allen Ong, Saw Yi Khy and Siow Yi Ting.
Malaysia will also be represented in women's diving by Leong Mun Yee and Gracie Junita.