Malaysian hopes for record break­ing feats in 200m, 400m and 1,500m freestyle

New Straits Times - - Sport -

AJITPAL SINGH ajit­pals­ingh@nst.com.my

How­ever, Welson hopes to steal the lime­light when he goes for record break­ing feats in the 200m, 400m and 1,500m freestyle where he is Malaysia’s only hope for ti­tles in swim­ming.

School­ing and Welson will only face off in the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle events. Both are ex­pected to an­chor their re­spec­tive counMonaco tries.

Welson holds the na­tional records in the 200m (1:47.67) and 400m (3:49.48), and is clos­ing in on Jef­frey Ong’s record of 15:23.61 with a per­sonal best of 15:31.10, set in March at the Sin­ga­pore Age Group Cham­pi­onships.

For the record, he is the only Malaysian swim­mer in re­cent years to have beaten an Olympic cham­pion in a meet.

Welson edged out Rio Olympic cham­pion Mack Hor­ton of Australia to the men’s 400m freestyle gold medal in the leg of the Mare Nostrum Tour in June with a new na­tional record of 3:49.48s.

The achieve­ment will def­i­nitely give him the psy­cho­log­i­cal con­fi­dence when he races against School­ing and other top South­east Asian swim­mers.

Welson is a hot favourite to re­tain his 400m gold medal, but will face stiff re­sis­tance in the 200m and 1,500m events.

“It all boils down to the Sea Games. All the records that I have achieved in the past will mean noth­ing if I do not meet my tar­get of gold medals,” said Welson.

“The Sea Games is very im­por­tant not only for me but also the na­tion. I would love to break records, but I do not want to add pres­sure to my­self by think­ing about it,” said Welson.

“I am only fo­cused on my train­ing right now. I am gear­ing up nicely and I have no in­juries. I am phys­i­cally and men­tally pre­pared to face any­one in the pool.”

On the pos­si­bil­ity of rac­ing against School­ing in the re­lay events, Welson said the Sin­ga­porean has achieved great things, but he will not fear the Olympic cham­pion.

“If I want to be a great swim­mer, I will need to con­tinue break­ing records. Like I said, I am ready to face any­one re­gard­less of his sta­tus.”

With age on his side, Welson, who made his Olympic de­but in Rio, is ex­pected to break records and shine for Malaysia in the Asian Games, Com­mon­wealth Games and Olympics one day.

Welson Sim hopes to take the shine off Sin­ga­pore’s Olympic cham­pion Joseph School­ing at the Sea Games.

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