‘Open’ sea­son for Wel­son

New Straits Times - - Sport -

WEL­SON Sim will try his hand in open wa­ter swim­ming when he com­petes in the Asian Cham­pi­onships in Pu­tra­jaya on May 19-21.

The Olympian, how­ever, is not shift­ing his fo­cus from pool events as he is only us­ing the open wa­ter swim­ming meet to pre­pare for the 200m, 400m and 1,500m freestyle events ahead of the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games on Aug 19-30.

“It is part of his train­ing pro­gramme for pool events… a strat­egy to build his en­durance es­pe­cially for the 1,500m event,” said na­tional coach Paul Birm­ing­ham yes­ter­day.

“Wel­son is def­i­nitely not mak­ing open wa­ter swim­ming his main forte. We have other full­time open wa­ter swim­mers for the Sea Games.”

For­mer Sea Games medal­list Kevin Yeap, Ver­non Lee and Wong Jun Bin make up the men’s team for the com­pe­ti­tion.

Perth-based Heidi Gan will use the Sea Games course to get a feel of the venue.

Heidi is leav­ing no stone un­turned in her bid for a sec­ond Sea Games gold medal.

The 28-year-old won both the 5,000m and 10,000m ti­tles when the sport was con­tested for the first time in 2011 in In­done­sia.

The pre­vi­ous two edi­tions in Myan­mar (2013) and Sin­ga­pore (2015) did not host open wa­ter swim­ming.

On the 10,000m men’s and women’s events in the Sea Games, Ama­teur Swim­ming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) sec­re­tary Mae Chen said Heidi will skip the World Cham­pi­onships in Bu­dapest in July to fo­cus on the bi­en­nial games.

“Heidi is ranked No 1 in this re­gion and we hope she can con­trib­ute a gold for us again,” said Mae. “Each coun­try can en­ter two male and two fe­male swim­mers in the Sea Games. Kevin Yeap and Heidi have al­ready as­sured their spots.”

Kevin, who won the 400m freestyle ti­tle in the 2011 Sea Games, will com­pete in Sea Games open wa­ter swim­ming for the first time.

An­gela Chieng will join Heidi for the women’s com­pe­ti­tion at the Asian meet. By Ajitpal Singh

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