Former national swimmer Lim Heng Chek passes away at age 85

PETALING JAYA: Former national swimmer and Olympian Lim Heng Chek passed away on Saturday (May 15) at the age of 85.

The late Heng Chek holds the distinction of being the first Malaysian swimmer to participate in the Olympics and SEA Games.

His friend and Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) Hall of Famer Datuk A. Vaithilingam said Heng Chek was a disciplined athlete.

"He was a very disciplined swimmer and trained regularly at Victoria Institution and later at the Chin Woo swimming pool.

"I was fortunate to have Heng Chek as a swimming technical chairman in the MSS Selangor (Selangor Sports School Council) for quite some time," said Vaithilingam, a noted sports administrator.

"He helped to train more teachers to be coaches. It is sad to note that Heng Chek, who belonged to a legendary family, is no more with us. May Almighty God Bless his soul."

According to OCM, Heng Chek had participated in all four major multi-sport games under the jurisdiction of the Federation of Malaya Olympic Council (FMOC), namely the Olympic Games, British Empire and Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, and South-East Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games.

He was a member of the contingent of the Federation of Malaya and made his Olympic debut at the XVI Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956, where he participated in the men’s 100m backstroke event and achieved a time of 1:12.4s.

He participated in two Asian Games, Tokyo (1958) and Jakarta (1962). He also took part in the VII British Empire and Commonwealth Games, now known as the Commonwealth Games, in Perth in 1962.

Heng Chek was also a member of the contingent of the Federation of Malaya to participate in the first SEAP Games, held in Bangkok in 1959, where he contributed two gold medals in the men’s 100m backstroke and 100m butterfly events.

He also won a silver medal in the 100m backstroke event at the second SEAP Games in Yangon, 1961.

After he retired from competitive swimming in 1962, he coached the Selangor and national swimming team for 15 years from 1964 to 1979.

Heng Chek was inducted into the Olympic Council of Malaysia Hall of Fame in 2013 for his contributions to the development of swimming in various capacities, from being a national swimmer to national coach, team official to technical official, as well as honorary secretary and vice-president of the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia.

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