PETALING JAYA: The Triathlon Association of Malaysia (Triam) are sending two fresh faces to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.
Triam have named 17-year-old Chong Xian Hao as the male representative while 26-year-old Serena Yang will feature in the women’s event.
Both Xian Hao and Serena earned their spots on merit after emerging winners in the National Championships in November last year.
“We did the selection for the men last year while the women’s list was only finalised earlier this year because Irene Chong was unavailable for the first selection due to family reasons,” said team manager Andy Yeo.
Sarawakian Serena even got the better of Irene, who was a bronze medallist at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games last August.
“It’s unfortunate that we are only allowed to send two athletes. Those are the slots that were allocated to us by the National Sports Council (NSC).
“We have to justify our participation and it’s already a good exposure for us to participate in the Games.
“Although triathlon is growing in Malaysia, we’re still a relatively new sport ... unlike other countries that have local races every other weekend.
“It will be a tough challenge for Xian Hao and Serena, especially since they are going up against the Europeans, Australians and the Kiwis, who are professional triathletes.
“The target for us is to do better than our Asian neighbours and hopefully make the top 20,” added Andy.
An advantage for Malaysia is that the triathlon event at the Games will only be the sprint category (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run) instead of the standard triathlon distance (1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run).
Additionally the lapping rule, which means triathletes who are lapped by the frontrunners are eliminated, is also removed.
Triathlon will be held at the Southport Broadwater Parklands on April 5.