EARLY BOOST FOR HEIDI
Wins a historic medal for Malaysia in Asian meet ahead of Sea Games challenge
HEIDI Gan etched her name in the history books when the twotime Olympian became the first Malaysian to win a medal in the Asian Open Water Swimming Championships yesterday.
The Perth-based swimmer overcame the humidity to finish third in the women’s 5km race in 1:05:03.586s in Lake Putrajaya.
Yumi Kida of Japan won the race in 1:03:40.600s while compatriot Yukimi Noriyama took third on 1:03:47.313s.
Although the 5km race will not be contested at the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games in August, Heidi was happy to emerge as the best placed swimmer from the region.
Singapore’s Chantal Liew was the next best finisher from Southeast Asia in sixth spot, followed by Thailand’s Neelanuch in 11th.
Malaysia’s second entry Angela Chieng was disqualified for a technical infringement.
“I took part in the race here as it’s the same course for the Sea Games. The achievement is something positive for my progress,” said the 28-year-old Heidi.
“It was a small but competitive field. Yumi from Japan was 12th in last year’s Rio Olympics.
“It was very humid. The last time I swam in a similar condition was at the 2011 Sea Games in Indonesia, so it was a big challenge to keep pace in front.”
Heidi, a double gold medallist in open water swimming at the 2011 Sea Games, will also compete in the 10km race tomorrow.
The 10km event will be contested in the Sea Games.
National swimmer Welson Sim finished a creditable fifth in the men’s 5km event by clocking 1:02:46.880s.
Japan also secured a one-two finish through Yasunari Hirai (1:00:28.953s) and Yohsuke Miyamoto (1:00:38.260s) while Kazakhstan’s Vitaliy Khudykov took third in 1:00:49.353s.