Jinq En’s back – but her heart is in the US


  • Swimming
  • Friday, 31 Jul 2020

Short stay: Jinq En plans to head back to the US as soon as the Covid-19 situation improves and overseas travel is permitted.

PETALING JAYA: Tokyo Olympics hopeful Phee Jinq En is back in Malaysia and has started training at the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex pool after clearing two weeks of self quarantine – but she does not intend to stay here long.

The 2019 SEA Games double gold medallist plans to head back to the United States as soon as the Covid-19 situation improves and overseas travel is permitted.

It could very well be a health risk – the US is the worst-hit nation in the world – but she feels it is the best path to pursue her dream to ensure a second Olympics outing next year.

“I have nobody here to train with now. I am swimming with other national swimmers but I am following the programme given by my coach John Klinge.

“He is the Purdue University women’s swimming team coach and I will probably head back to US to continue training there later this year if the situation improves.

“Now, Malaysian team coach Chris Martin helps look out for me at times but I have to be on my own most of the time, ” said Jinq En, who hopes to be able to enter US on a tourist visa.

“The reason I had to come back after I graduated was because my student visa expired recently.

“But I can still apply for a tourist visa with a six-month validity for each entry. I hope to go for one or two competitions and then hopefully, it will be time for the Olympics, ” said the 22-year-old.

Jinq En graduated with a degree in Business and Management from the university in Indiana in May but continued to train there, paying her own way.

The Selangor-born swimmer made her Olympics debut in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

She and Welson Sim are the only two swimmers under the Road to Tokyo programme.

At the Philippines SEA Games last year, Jinq En saved Malaysia the blushes with her double gold in the women’s 50m and 100m breaststroke.

She splashed to a new Games record of 1:08.50 in the 100m breaststroke, which also saw her erasing her previous national record of 1:08.65 set in 2016.

Her effort should be good enough to see her make it to Tokyo under the Olympic B rankings even if she fails to make the A cut.

The A cut for the women’s 100m breaststroke is 1:07.07 while the B time is 1:09.08.

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