But the 17-year-old had to drop all his plans when he was called up at the last minute for the SEA Games swimming competition in the Philippines as a replacement for backstroker Tern Jian Han, who pulled out due to health issues.
Hoe Yean pales in comparison to Jian Han, who made a name for himself by rewriting Alex Lim Keng Liat’s 16-year national record in the men’s 50m backstroke at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games last year, but the former has promised to make his inclusion count.
The Kuala Lumpur-born Hoe Yean served notice of his potential to become the future of Malaysian swimming by splashing to seven gold medals in the Asean Schools Games in Semarang, Indonesia, in July this year.
He has been entered for six events and is hoping to make an impression on the SEA Games stage.
“I didn’t expect to get to swim in the SEA Games as there are better swimmers like Welson Sim and Tern Jian Han in my favourite events like backstroke and middle distance freestyle,” said Hoe Yean.
“I was focusing on my SPM exams but I still trained daily as it’s part of the Bukit Jalil training programme.
“I was told to prepare for the SEA Games as there was a possibility of Jian Han not going, so it’s not really a problem.
“It’s only my first SEA Games, so I’m not setting any big goals.
“I’m sad Jian Han is not here but I’m motivated to justify my presence.
“If I can win a medal, it will be a bonus,” said Hoe Yean, who bagged two gold medals in the Perak Malaysia Games (Sukma) last year.
Hoe Yean has been tentatively entered for the 400m freestyle, 100m and 200m backstroke; the 200m and 400m individual medley. The team events are the men’s 4x100m medley and 4x200m freestyle relay.
The team, comprising 11 male and four female swimmers, will leave today for New Clark City.
The swimming team are hopeful of securing three gold medals from the pool to match the performance from the 2017 SEA Games in KL.
In KL two years ago, Welson contributed two gold medals from the men’s 200m and 400m freestyle while Phee Jinq En delivered another in the women’s 100m breaststroke.
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