Welson Sim's suicidal dash in last 25m rewarded with gold, games record

KUALA LUMPUR: It was a little bit suicidal in the last 25m for Malaysian swimming ace Welson Sim who made a mad dash to touch the wall in the men's 200m freestyle final at the National Aquatic Centre, Kuala Lumpur Sports City, Bukit Jalil tonight.

The 20-year-old Sarawakian splashed his way to a new Games record under painful circumstances with a time of 1 minute 47.49 seconds to erase the previous record of 1:48.96s set by Vietnam's Hoang Quy Phuoc in the 2015 Singapore SEA Games.

He could not stand still after the race because his legs and thighs had cramps.

"I would say the last 50m was most painful and most memorable moment for me throughout my swimming career. I have never felt this painful in the last 50m especially the last 25m because I went out really really fast at the first 100m to catch up with the Vietnamese cause I cannot allow him too far a distance from me.

"He (Hoang) is a sprinter and I am more to middle distance swimming. Normally he goes out faster than I do but in this meet I did not want to allow him too much of a gap in the last 50m, if he is too much in front of me he would have a mental advantage, so I had to push myself to the limit," he said.

Welson, would feature in the men's 4x200m freestyle tomorrow and his last event would be the 1,500m freestyle on Saturday.

"I am happy for myself and for everybody who supported me. The 1,500m is my last event and definitely I will go all out in my last event," he added.

In the men's 200m freestyle today, the record holder, Hoang who bagged the silver medal, was just 0.58s behind Welson while Yeo Quan Kai of Singapore took the bronze with a time of 1:48.98s.

His teammate and senior swimmer, Daniel Bego who qualified in fifth place in the heats earlier today, did not compete due to food poisoning and replaced by Indonesian Putera Muhammad Randa who finished eighth with a time of 2:02.23s.

Meanwhile, national swimming coach Paul Birmingham confirmed that Bego was suffering from food poisoning and could not swim in the final.

"This evening we started to warm up and he was like in a 50-50 condition and after the warm up, he went to the changing room. His stomach was under cramps and had an injection. It is not serious but that's it. I hope he can swim in the 4x200m freestyle tomorrow," he added. — Bernama