SWIMMER Welson Sim was the golden boy of Malaysian swimming going into the Games but lost his aura of invincibility when the events ended.
The 22-year-old arrived in the Philippines with strong expectations to deliver for the third straight SEA Games.
He will go back with only two silvers – 200m and 400m freestyle – and a bronze as part of the 4x200m freestyle relay.
The Sarawak-born swimmer concluded his outing in the SEA Games by clocking 50.30 to finish sixth in the 100m freestyle, which although is not his main event, is seen as a flop as he was far off his national record mark of 49.54 set at the Malaysian Open in May.
It was hardly the kind of form one would expect from someone who had trained six months in Melbourne with coaches who produce Olympic champions.
Welson even failed to win his third straight gold in the 400m freestyle after being beaten to it by Vietnam’s Youth Olympic champion Nguyen Huy Hoang.
Welson admitted the crowd and the pressure to deliver got to him.
“For now, it’s very bad because like so many other events... after two losses, I messed up.
“Everyone was expecting me to win and I’m sorry I could not do it this time.
“I want to give myself a little break after this Games and come back next year to try to qualify for the Olympics. I still want to make it to the Olympics but there is not much time left, ” he said after the competition.
The men’s waterpolo team disappeared in the pool even though they were here early before the start of the SEA Games.
The team not just failed to defend the bronze medal the previous squad won in the KL Games in 2017 but lost all their matches in the round robin competition.
To be fair, the team really lacked competitive exposure while countries like Indonesia and Philippines have improved by leaps and bounds.
Even Singapore were caught off-guard and lost the gold for the first time in SEA Games history to Indonesia.
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