James is on a roll Para swimmer qualifies for worlds and sets sights on 2020 Games


Malaysias James Wong celebrate for mens 100 meter Butterfly SB14 category during 9th ASEAN Para Games at National Aquatic Centre, Bukit Jalil. FAIHAN GHANI/The Star.

PETALING JAYA: One target down, one more to go.

Para swimmer James Wong (pic) has achieved his target of qualifying for his first World Para Swimming Championships in Kuching, Sarawak, next year.

The 23-year-old did so after finishing fifth in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB8 (for swimmers with one limb) with his 1:22.52 effort at the recent Asian Para Games.

Born with part of his left arm missing, James had earlier claimed a bronze medal in the 200m individual medley final.

“I achieved my target to qualify for my first World Para Swimming Championships next year,” said James, adding that next on his list is the Tokyo Paralympics.

James, who lives in Adelaide, Australia, is looking at the 100m breaststroke race as his ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

“During the Asian Para Games, I knew it was going to be very tough to win a medal in the 100m breast­stroke as four of the swimmers in the field competed at the 2016 Rio Paralym­pics and three of them are ranked in the world’s top 10.”

But James is confident of qualifying for more events in the world meet.

“There is still time to swim in more events as the qualifying period is until May next year.

“I need to swim in the Interna­tional Paralympic Council-sanctioned meets to qualify for other events.

“But right now, I think the 100m breaststroke is probably my best event to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics, so I should be focusing more on it,” said the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Asean Para Games gold medallist.

James, Jamery Siga, Julius Jaranding and Muhammad Nur Syaiful Zulkifli are the four para swimmers who have qualified for the world meet so far.

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