PETALING JAYA: Welson Sim will be the star attraction but a few young upstarts will be out to impress as well in the Malaysia Open swimming championship in Bukit Jalil starting today.
The reigning SEA Games champion Welson, who arrived home yesterday after a four-month training stint in Melbourne, Australia, should have no problems winning today’s men’s 400m freestyle race.
It is just a question of whether Welson, who recently lowered his national record to 3:49.29 for the 400m freestyle at the Victorian Open, is able to clock a good time at the home tournament.
It will be equally interesting to see the battle between the other national swimmers jostling to secure places in the Philippines SEA Games in December.
Kuala Lumpur boy Khiew Hoe Yean, whose confidence bolstered after an impressive seven-gold haul at the National School (MSSM) swimming meet in Ipoh last month, is hoping to pull off a breakthrough win this week.
The 17-year-old is down to swim in the 50m backstroke where he could be taking on Johor-born Tern Jian Han (pic).
Jian Han made a big splash by smashing Alex Lim Keng Liat’s 16-year national record in the 50m backstroke event at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games last year.
The 22-year-old clocked a time of 25.60 to finish sixth in his semis heat and clocked 25.62 to finish eighth in the final.
Jian Han, however, has slipped in form after that but still should hold the edge.
“It will be hard to beat him but I’ll try my best. I think I’ve a better chance in the 200m backstroke for my first victory in a senior Open competition,” said Jian Han.
Said Hoe Yean, who set a new personal best of 2:05.55 in the 200m backstroke in the MSSM meet in Ipoh: “We’ve been training under new coach Chris Martin. I’ve improved a lot with more quality training sets.”
Chan Jie, 23, is hoping to dip under 54-second mark in the 100m butterfly event today.
“My personal best is 54 seconds for the 100m butterfly and I want to lower it as it’s my pet event. My hope is to eventually break Daniel Bego’s national record of 53.33,” said the Selangor lad.
Daniel set the 100m butterfly national record back in the 2009 world championships in Rome, Italy.