SEBASTIAN Soon (pic) and Steve Khiew are all pumped up to make a big splash for Federal Territories in their Malaysia Games (Sukma) debuts in the swimming competition starting in Ipoh today.
Only 16, Sebastian is looking promising to upset the form book in the boys’ 400m individual medley for FT following his record breaking performance at the Asean Schools Games in Kuala Lumpur in July.
Sebastian clocked 4:30.85 in the boys’ 400m individual medley to break Lim Ching Hwang’s national record of 4:31.01 set at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games last year. He also won the 200m individual medley and 1,500m freestyle titles at the school meet.
His time is already well inside the existing Sukma record of 4:34.14 held by Die Ung Manggang of Sarawak since 2002 and he is up for the challenge.
“I’m excited as this is my first Sukma and I want to enjoy the experience,” said Sebastian.
“I hope to do another personal best time again and hopefully, it will be good for a medal.
“I expect Selangor swimmer Jordan Yip, my teammate Steve and Johor’s Tia’a Faang Der to pose a strong challenge, so it will be an exciting fight between us.”
He will also be swimming in the 200m individual medley, 400m and 1,500 freestyle individual events.
The individual medley discipline is the hardest to focus on as one needs to be good in all four strokes and both Sebastian and Steve have put in the hard work.
Steve, who is only 15, is also in with a chance to create an upset in the pool.
His personal best of 2:06.77 clocked in winning the 200m backstroke at the Malaysian Open in May this year makes him a strong contender to take gold.
Steve’s time is faster than the existing Sukma record of 2:07.02 set by Tern Jian Han of Johor since 2014.
“I’m not so good in sprinting, so I’m focusing on the 100m and 200m backstroke. This is a senior competition for me, so it will not be easy but of course, I will try my best,” said Steve.
“Jordan (Yip) will be my strongest rival for the backstroke events.”
Selangor ruled the roost with 20 golds in Kuching two years ago but they can expect FT, Melaka, Penang and Sarawak to give strong fights over the next five days.
Sarawak will be counting on middle and long distance female swimmer Angela Chieng while FT can bank on 100m freestyle national record holder Keith Lim to deliver the goods.
Selangor will be banking on Rosalind Pang, Nadia Adrianna Redza and Jordan to lead the way while Melaka will be hoping Goh Chia Tong can steal the show in the backstroke events.