PETALING JAYA: Youngster Lim Ching Hwang made a big splash for Malaysian swimming after winning the boys’ 200m freestyle gold medal in stunning fashion at the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, China.
It was Malaysia’s first-ever gold medal from swimming at the Games, which are held every four years, and Ching Hwang splashed to victory in 1:50.81 Tuesday.
It was just outside his personal best of 1:50.42, which he clocked at the Singapore national age-group meet in March, but it was still enough to take the gold ahead of Singapore’s Quah Zheng Wen (1:52.19) and Thailand’s Kittiya Tanakrit (1:52.94).
Ching Hwang was delighted to have lived up to his billing after qualifying the fastest in the heats in the morning.
He surged to the front right from the start and never allowed his rivals to make up ground in the four-lap race.
Ching Hwang said it was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for him to impress at the Games.
“You only get to compete in one Asian Youth Games as you’ll be past the eligibility bracket (14-17) the next time around,” said the 17-year-old.
“I was feeling very down after failing to impress at the recent World Championships in Barcelona.
“I was determined to go under 1:50 here and see where it takes me. My thoughts were on getting a medal, whatever the colour.
“I really could not be happier that it’s a gold. I’ll try to make it a double delight by capturing the 100m freestyle next (Wednesday).”
The Singapore-based swimmer returned to the pool for a second medal – getting a bronze as part of the 4x100m freestyle relay quartet, which also comprised Alwyn Tan, Welson Sim and Wong Fu Kang.
They posted 3:29.81 to finish behind South Korea (3:28.66) and Singapore (3:29.63).
Malaysians also made two other finals – with Fu Kang narrowly missing out on third in the boys’ 50m breaststroke and Phee Jing En finishing sixth in the girls’ 50m breaststroke after clocking 33.49.
Fu Kang reached the finish line in 29.78 behind South Korea’s Kim Jae-youn (28.97), Cai Bing Rong of China (29.24) and Chao Man Hou of Hong Kong (29.52).