Another record-breaking feat from Hoe Yean

Teenager Khiew Hoe Yean breaks the 23-year-old men’s 200m backstroke record by clocking 2:00.80s at the 63rd Malaysia Open today. The previous record of 2:00.94s was set by former national star Alex Lim Keng Liat to win silver medal at the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games. Photo: MSN | Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Young swimmer Khiew Hoe Yean gave another smashing display to break the men’s 800 metre freestyle national and meet records at the 63rd Malaysia Open at the National Aquatic Centre here on Sunday.

The 19-year-old, who was again the sole participant, clocked eight minutes and six seconds (8:06.00s) to erase Olympian Welson Sim’s record of 8:09.77s set at the Victorian Open swimming championships in February 2019.

The Kuala Lumpur swimmer’s time also broke the meet record of 8:12.11s set by Srihari Nataraj of India in 2019 and dipped below the Olympic Selection Time (OST) of 8:08.54s, reaching very close to the Olympic Qualifying Time (OQT) of 7:54.31s.

“It was my first time swimming in the 800m freestyle event, so it is a good time and great.

“But before the swim, I was confident of going fast because I did feel good in the warm-up. To be honest, I did aim for the record before I jumped in,” he told Bernama.

Hoe Yean also dipped below the OST of 1:50.23s in the men’s 200m freestyle today, winning the event in 1:49.38s to beat record holder Welson (1:50.64s) and Low Zheng Yong (1:56.28s) into second and third places respectively.

On Saturday, Hoe Yean broke the 23-year-old 200m backstroke national record by clocking 2:00.80s to erase former national star Alex Lim Keng Liat’s previous mark of 2:00.94s.

Hoe Yean has surpassed the OST in the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle and 200m backstroke events, while Welson and Phee Jinq En made the OST cut in the men’s 400m freestyle and women’s 100m breaststroke respectively.

Only swimmers who meet the Olympic Qualifying Time (OQT) in their respective events by June 27 are guaranteed slots at the Olympics. In the case of the men’s 200m backstroke event, the OQT is 1:57.50s.

Swimmers can also qualify under the OST based on universal participation, meaning a nation with no Olympic qualifier will be allowed to enter up to one male and one female swimmer for the Tokyo Games. – Bernama