Monday June 18, 2012
See Tuan the sixth Malaysian swimmer to beat Olympic selection time
By LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: Yap See Tuan made a big splash by dipping under the Olympic selection time for the first time in the men’s 200m breaststroke as Malaysia won three more gold medals at the South-East Asia (SEASA) Swimming Championships at the Singapore Sports School.
The 22-year-old from Pahang surged to a personal best of 2:15.96 in winning the 200m breaststroke to become the sixth swimmer after Siow Yi Ting, Christina Loh, Chui Lai Kwan, Khoo Cai Lin and Kevin Yeap to make the grade for the London Olympics.
Indonesia’s Dasuki Muhammad Idham overtook Singapore’s Khoo Chien Yin on the last lap to take silver in 2:18.68.
Chien Yin, who had won the 50m and 100m breaststroke races earlier, only managed 2:19.02 for the bronze.
The Olympic selection time is 2:16.35 but it does not guarantee the athlete a place. However, it will be a relief for See Tuan in achieving his mission as the SEASA meet was the last qualifying event and he will be keeping his fingers crossed that his timing is good enough when FINA, the governing body for aquatics, finalise the ranking list next week.
If See Tuan does get a place in London, he will be the first Malaysian male breaststroke swimmer at the Olympics in 12 years since former Asian champion Elvin Chia.
Irregardless, See Tuan is fast closing in on the national record of 2:15.62 held by Elvin since 2000 and his effort augurs well especially with the Myanmar SEA Games next year.
See Tuan also chalked a personal best of 1:03.67 in taking silver in the 100m breaststroke earlier in the week, which was just a second outside Elvin’s national record of 1:02.59.
Fellow Olympic hopeful Kevin completed his double by bagging the 1,500m freestyle race with another good effort.
Kevin, who won the 400m freestyle a day ago, not only posted 15:35.02 to dip under the Olympic selection time of 15:43.74 for the third time this year but had the satisfaction of beating Indonesia SEA Games gold medallist Teo Zhen Ren. The Singaporean set a new national record of 15:43.08 but had to be satisfied with the silver.
Kevin was the silver medallist in the 1,500m freestyle but won the shorter 400m race at the SEA Games last year. Yi Ting also dipped under the Olympic selection time of 2:32.03 in winning the women’s 200m breaststroke in 2:31.75.
It was the second gold medal for Yi Ting after beating team-mate Christina Loh in the 100m breaststroke earlier in the week.
Cai Lin added a silver to the two gold medals won in the 400m and 800m freestyle earlier by chalking a season best 2:03.89 in the 200m freestyle.
Lai Kwan contributed one bronze medal in the 50m backstroke with a time of 30.93.