TALK about going out with a bang!
Kevin Yeap made sure of a perfect swan song when he led from start to finish to win the men’s open water 10km race at the Putrajaya Lake in front of the Water Sports Complex yesterday.
And to think that Kevin, who turned 28 on Aug 4, was considering retiring after failing to qualify for the Rio Olympics last year.
Kevin, who switched to open water six years ago, pulled away in the fourth lap of the six-lap race to clock 2’03:18 for Malaysia’s fifth gold of the Games.
Thailand’s Peerapat Lertsathapornsuk (2’05:41) took silver and Indonesia’s Aflah Fadlah Prawira (2’08:40) the bronze.
The day certainly belonged to Kevin, who only managed a bronze when the event was last held at the Jakarta Games in 2011.
By winning the gold medal yesterday, Kevin has created history by becoming the first Malaysian to win in two different disciplines in swimming at the SEA Games.
Kevin, of Perak, had won the 400m freestyle gold at Jakarta 2011.
“I’m really happy. I definitely swam a lot better than when I finished third in the Asian Open Water Championships (in May),” said Kevin.
“I told my coach that I would go out hard. I knew that if my competitors tried to follow me, they would be more tired than me.
“But it was still a tough and tiring race. I could feel my competitors right behind me until the fourth lap. I didn’t dare to look back.
“I’m really thankful to be given the chance to swim at the KL Games after thinking of retiring last year.
“Coach Paul (Birmingham) told me that if I wanted to retire, I should go out in a blaze of glory.
“I’m looking forward to the next phase of my life, maybe as a junior coach. First, I’m going to take a short holiday,” added Kevin with a grin.
Malaysian other swimmer – 18-year-old Wong Jun Bin – finished a creditable sixth in 2’12:26.See our full coverage of SEA Games 2017