Shafiq shocks Daniel in 50m freestyle

KUALA LUMPUR: Shafiq Sulaiman was on cloud nine after chalking up an upset win over top junior Daniel Bego in the 50m freestyle of the Malaysian Open swimming championships at the Kuala Lumpur Swimming Complex in Cheras last night.  

The 17-year-old swimmer from Kuala Lumpur touched home in 24.39 for his first individual gold medal of the meet, leaving Daniel to take the silver in 24.48. Another up and coming swimmer Foo Jian Beng of Selangor took bronze in 25.05.  

It was the first time in three years that the Bukit Jalil Sports School-based Daniel had been beaten in the 50m sprint race.  

Daniel also ran out of steam in the 100m butterfly, settling for silver in 57.69 behind winner Nguyen Thanh Hai of Vietnam (57.38).  

Shafiq was surprised that he pulled off the upset win.  

“I beat my personal best of 24.70 and I am very happy to clinch my first individual gold on the last day of competition.  

“I never expected to beat Daniel for the first time, as he is the best short distance swimmer in the country,” said Shahir, a Form Five student at Aminuddin Baki Seconday School in Taman Tun Dr Ismail.  

For Daniel, it was one of his rare off-days but the 16-year-old Sarawakian still ended up with three individual gold medals.  

He won the 100m and 200m freestyle events and also came out tops in the 50m butterfly.  

“I am satisfied ... it has been a tiring time for me. This is my third competition in the last two weeks (after the Asean Schools meet in Bangkok and the Asian Age-Group Junior championships in Brunei),” said Daniel.  

Negri Sembilan's Chai Sook Fun stamped her mark as the top women backstroke swimmer in the country when she won the 200m backstroke event yesterday. The 15-year-old won in 2:25.99 to sweep of all three backstroke titles.  

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