It pays to keep trying as triathlete Wen Jun eyes medal

TRIATHLETE Lee Wen Jun (pic) was on the brink of quitting the sport after failing to qualify for the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games but fast forward two years, he is now eyeing a medal in the Philippines.

Wen Jun will be competing in the individual triathlon event on Dec 1 at Subic Bay.

The 21-year-old can still remember the painful experience when he was just not good enough at the national tryouts for the KL Games.

He took the failure hard as he felt that he had disappointed his parents, who were active in marathons and ironman events.

“I’ve been active in the sport since I was nine. I participated in triathlon, kids distances, influenced by my parents, ” said Wen Jun.

“As I grew older, I moved into the sprint category and now I’m taking part in the Olympic distances. But during the selection for the KL Games, I wasn’t ready and there was a gap in standard with others.

“I contemplated quitting as many had hopes on me to compete at the SEA Games. I felt that I had not only disappointed myself but everyone else.

“But with the continuous support from my parents and friends, I pushed on. I was more prepared and made the cut after the first selection.”

Now that Wen Jun has made the cut, he is determined to make his mark.

He faces stiff competition from the Philippines who have dominated the sport in the last two editions by winning the men and individual events in Singapore (2015) and Kuala Lumpur (2017).

Nikko Bryan Huelgas was the champion in the men’s category in both editions.

“Nikko won’t be competing this year but the Philippines will remain strong as they will be familiar with the routes at home. I hope to fight for at least a bronze.”

The other members in the men’s team are Aldrian Yeo, Lee Wen Jun, Thiang Chong Yoong, Lim Kien Mau, Mohd Haziq Junaidy and Chong Xian Hao (triathlon and duathlon). The women are Aimi Iwasaki, Yang Chen Yin, Allison Yee, Mariana Mohammad and Yeong Zhen Yi.

At the last Games in Kuala Lumpur in 2017, Irene Chong was Malaysia’s sole winner with her bronze-medal effort in the individual triathlon. There was no duathlon that year.

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