SINGAPORE: Youngsters Welson Sim and Phee Jinq En made a big splash for Malaysia in their first European outing in the Luxembourg Euro Meet.
18-year-old Welson clocked an impressive 1:48.46 to take a silver medal in the men's 200m freestyle A final on Saturday night.
Welson's time was not far from his national record of 1:48.11 set at the FINA Swimming World Cup leg in Dubai last November.
Serbian Velimir Stjepanovic, the 400m freestyle bronze medallist at last year's world championships in Kazan, claimed the gold medal in 1:46.10. Spaniard Martin Victor took bronze in 1:49.61.
Sarawak-born Welson was also second fastest with 1:49.45 in the morning heats.
17-year-old Jinq En was not to be outdone as she swam to a bronze in the women's 50m breaststroke A final.
Jinq En finished the sprint race in 32.11 behind Dutch swimmer Moniek Nijhuis, who clocked 31.70 for the silver medal. Martina Carraro of Italy took the gold in 31.28.
Welson and Jinq En stamped their marks with gold medals at the Singapore SEA Games last year and proved again they are the country's hopes for the future.
Nationalcoach Paul Birmingham said: "Welson did a very good time and bodes well for his chances to make the A cut for the Rio Olympica in August. He is getting close to the A time for the 200m freestyle (1:47.97).
"Welson looked great for the first 150m. He just needs more practice for his pacing."
"Jing En snagged a medal against some high quality opposition," added Birmingham.
Welson is already inside the Rio Olympic B qualifying time of 1:51.75.
No Malaysian swimmer has qualified for the Olympics under the A time since Alex Lim Keng Liat in the men's 100m backstroke at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Two other Malaysians competing in Luxembourg - Khoo Cai Lin was placed 23rd in the women's 200m freestyle while Kevin Yeap was ranked 11th in the men's 1500m freestyle.
Did you find this article insightful?