KUALA LUMPUR: National sailing ace Kevin Lim is the latest Malaysian to qualify for the Athens Olympic Games in his pet event – the laser class.
The 28-year-old, who graduated from his medical studies in the New South Wales University in Australia last year, has decided to put an hold his housemanship to make his third and last Olympics outing the best yet.
Kevin made his Olympics debut in Atlanta in 1996 as a 20-year-old and finished 38th in the laser competition. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he was placed 24th.
He qualified for the Athens Games by virtue of finishing as the second best Asian yachtsman in the World Championships in Turkey, which ended on May 19. South Korean Kim Ho-kon was the top Asian.
Yesterday, Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi said he hoped Kevin could finish among the top 10 in Athens.
“It is great that Kevin has qualified for the Olympics for the third time in a row. He finished 59th overall in the world meet, which was the last Olympic qualifying tournament,” said Kok Chi.
“Now, he has to be a little more ambitious and aim for a top-10 finish,” said Kok Chi.
Kok Chi was also hoping that Kevin would get funding from the National Sports Council in his preparations for Athens.
“Sailing is an expensive sport. As a recipient of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) scholarships, Kevin gets US$1,200 a month. But that is not sufficient,” said Kok Chi.
“Now that he has qualified for the Olympics, Kevin has plans to go to Europe as part of his training for the Athens Games. He also needs a new boat, which will cost him RM25,000.
“Hopefully, the NSC can step in to help him out in his effort to do well in the Olympics,” added Kok Chi.
Kevin has been training in Sydney under the guidance of 2000 Sydney Olympics bronze medallist, Michael Blackburn.
Last year, he became the first Malaysian to win the Asia Pacific Laser Championships when he finished ahead of the 2001 apprentice world champion Brett Beyer of Australia. He is also the 2001 SEA Games gold medallist and a silver medallist at the Busan Asian Games.
With Kevin’s inclusion, Malaysia will now have 22 athletes competing in Athens.
The others are nine badminton players – Wong Choong Hann, Mohd Roslin Hashim, Lee Chong Wei, Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah, Chan Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng and Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty; artistic gymnast Ng Shu Wai; archer Mon Redee Sut Txi; swimmers Lim Keng Liat, Saw Yi Khy, Allen Ong and Siow Yi Ting; divers Leong Mun Yee and Gracie Junita; taekwondo exponent Elaine Teo; cyclist Josiah Ng; walker Yuan Yufang; and Ricky Teh, who received a wildcard in shooting.