PETALING JAYA: Teenage swimmer Khiew Hoe Yean claimed a rare win over favourite Welson Sim in the men’s 400m freestyle event on the first day of the Malaysian Open championships.
It was the first competition for the Bukit Jalil-based swimmers in 15 months since the Covid-19 pandemic and the 19-year-old splashed to victory in style by going under the Olympic Selection Time (OST).
Hoe Yean came in first in the eight-lap race in 3:51.56, dipping under the OST time of 3:53.58 for Tokyo Olympics.
Top swimmer Welson took second place for Sarawak with 3:57.74 in what was his first defeat in his pet race on Malaysian soil as the national record holder.
Welson holds the national record of 3:49.29 set back in 2019 in Melbourne, Australia and is hopeful of earning a second Olympics appearance in Tokyo next month with his OST time of 3:49.55 which he clocked in taking silver at the 2019 Philippines SEA Games.
It may not be conclusive to judge the swimmers as they have not raced in any competition for more than a year but the win yesterday will no doubt be a satisfying one for Hoe Yean.
The Kuala Lumpur-born is only the third Malaysian swimmer after Welson and woman breaststroker Phee Jinq En to make the OST list for swimming.
Hoe Yean will swim in the 200m backstroke today, the event where he took bronze in his SEA Games debut in the Philippines.
“I am happy with my performance after not having raced for so long. I’m just happy to compete,” said Hoe Yean, who splashed to eight golds in the national age-group meet in Bukit Jalil in March last year.
“I have continued to train together with Welson and Sebastian Soon in the national training camp since the Covid-19 outbreak and we always compete keenly with each other.
Welson still made it to the top of the podium when he won the men’s 100m freestyle in 50.80.
Samuel Ng of Sabah came in second in 54.68 ahead of Yap Yong Jie of Kuala Lumpur, who posted 54.89.
There were no heats because the Malaysian Open meet this time only saw the participation from the Bukit Jalil-based swimmers.
50m backstroke: 1. Samuel Ng (Sab) 28.58, 2. Yap Yong Jie (Kul) 29.01.
100m freestyle: 1. Welson Sim (Swk) 50.80, 2. Samuel Ng (Sab) 54.68, 3. Yap Yong Jie (Kul) 54.89.
100m breaststroke: 1. Ng Jing Fu (Sel) 1:04.45, 2. Jordan Yip (Sel) 1:04.50, 3. Hii Puong Wei (Swk) 1:04.54.
200m butterfly: 1. Tia’a Faang Der (Joh) 2:04.60, 2. Low Zheng Yong (Mel) 2:05.88, 3. Anselm Lee (Mel) 2:16.19.
400m freestyle: 1. Khiew Hoe Yean (Kul) 3:51.56, 2. Welson Sim (Swk) 3:57.74, 3. Sebastian Soon (Kul) 4:02.63.
50m backstroke: 1. Nessa Yip (Sel) 31.25.
100m freestyle: 1. Angelina Chan (Sel) 59.73, 2. Kelly Teo (Swk) 1:00.20, 3. Leong Xin Rui (Sel) 1:01.58.
100m breaststroke: 1. Lim Shun Qi (Sel) 1:16.40.
400m freestyle: 1. Goh Chia Tong (Mel) 4:34.75.
200m butterfly: 1. Ong Yong Qi (Joh) 2:19.15.