Erika selected for Commonwealth Games

KUCHING: Double gold medallist at Sukma XIII Erika Kong has received an offer to swim for the country at the 19th Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India from Oct 3-14.

PRIDE OF SARAWAK: Erika receives the incentives from Social Development and Urbanisation Minister Dato Sri William Mawan Ikom while (from right) assistant minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin who is also Sukma XIII chef de mission and assistant chef de mission cum Pantai Damai assemblyman Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi look on.

PRIDE OF SARAWAK: Erika receives the incentives from Social Development and Urbanisation Minister Dato Sri William Mawan Ikom while (from right) assistant minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin who is also Sukma XIII chef de mission and assistant chef de mission cum Pantai Damai assemblyman Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi look on.

Swimmer needs to sort out her PMR exams first

Her father Anthony Kong said Erika, 15, and Daniel Bego are the two Sarawak swimmers bound for the Commonwealth Games and the duo would be joined by 11 swimmers from other states who were selected for the Games.

“This is a great honour and recognition for Erika who has worked very hard and produced consistent results for the first half of 2010,” Kong said when met at the Sukma XIII incentives presentation ceremony at Penview Inn yesterday.

Erika, who won two gold medals, broke a national record and won three bronzes, received a total of RM6,000 for her excellent performance at Sukma XIII.

“I only received the letter of offer from Amateur Swimming Association of Malaysia (Asum) secretary Edwin Chong this morning,” Kong said, adding that he has not decided yet whether to let her participate in the Commonwealth Games.

“The problem here is that the dates of the Games clash with that of PMR examination. Chong told me that the Education Ministry will work it out with the National Sports Council whether to defer the exam for Erika or use the mock exam to decide her PMR results. A decision will be known next week,” he added.

Kong said while academic achievement is important for Erika as it is her commitment as a student, it was equally important that she should go to a higher level of competition.

He said he needed to talk to the authorities of Erika’s school – Lodge Secondary School on the matter.

“Erika has competed in the SEA Games and the next stage would be the Commonwealth Games,” Kong revealed.

Moreover, the Commonwealth Games is a stepping stone for Erika to the Asian Games in Guangzhou in November this year, which is what the rising star of Sarawak swimming is aiming for this year.

“The swimmers for the Asian Games are selected based on their performance at the Commonwealth Games and not many Sarawakians are selected for Commonwealth Games,” said Kong.

“We are quite fortunate that Erika and Daniel Bego were selected but it is not easy for my daughter because she has to face           stiff competition from Christina Loh of Kuala Lumpur over these two years in the women’s breaststroke.

“Erika has also trained very hard for all swimming competitions this year and made great efforts to make it to the national team.”

Prior to Sukma XIII, Erika won two gold, one silver and one bronze medals from the South-East Asia (SEA) Age Group swimming championship at the Trace College Aquatic Pool in Manila.

The golds were won in the 50m breaststroke and 200m breaststroke while the silver was won in the 100m breaststroke and the bronze in the 200m.

Erika also won six gold, four silver medals at the National Age Group Swimming Championship as well as seven gold and four silver medals at the Malaysian Schools Sports Council Swimming Championship.

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