SIBU: Five more records tumbled on the second day of the 39th Sarawak Age Group Swimming Championship at Bukit Lima Swimming Pool yesterday but it would have been six had hot favourite Alex Tiong not gotten himself disqualified in the Boys A 400m Individual Medley.
Swimming his pet 400m Individual Medley, Alex, the rising star from Sibu, was the first off the starting block and returned with a record time of 4’46.05”, enroute to eclipsing the old record set by Ling Neng Ching in 2005.
The partisan crowd cheered him on but when he finished the race in record fashion, tournament referee Jeffery Sim from Kuching said Alex was disqualified as he was ‘too early’ off the starting block.
Alex refused to believe that he was disqualified and so was his mother who was there to lend him the morale support.
“This is not fair to us and we feel that a gold medal had been robbed from him,” the mother lamented.
Kuching’s Roydon Ong Yi, trailing way behind, was eventually announced the winner.
Sibu Amateur Swimming Association coach Hii Hieng Chiong said the referee decision was final and no complaints would be entertained.
He said the competition was conducted in accordance to Fina rules and as such, any decision made by the referee was final.
“I am not saying that Alex gold was legitimate or illegitimate but in such a situation, it was hard to judge how many hundred of a second was Alex actually off the block faster.
“We do not have the television screen for the replay. The supporters may have seen from one angle while the referee could have felt otherwise.”
Nevertheless, Alex, the 16-year-old Form Four student from SMK Sacred Heart could redeem himself when he rewrote a new record in the 100m backstroke when he broke the record of Daniel Bego and returned with of 1’03.15.
With the record, Alex had thus far secured five gold, three silver and one bronze.
The other gold he collected in the day was the 400m freestyle.
Alex was down to compete in 16 events and he hoped to give a credible performance as the meet entered its final day today.
Kota Samarahan’s Welsom Sim took two records in the Boys B 400m freestyle with a new time of 4’12.37” and 100m backstroke with a time of 1’02.94.
Kuching’s Erika Kong continued to stamp her mark when she broke the record in the Girls A 400m Individual Medley.
She recorded a new time of 5’18.47”, rewriting the old record of Hii Siew Siew of 5’20.33 established in 2011.
Kota Samarahan’s Angela Chieng, who hold the honour to break the oldest record in the tournament, a 24-year-old record in the 200m Individual Medley, rewrote her own record in the Girls B 400m Individual medley with a new time of 5’19.04.
National swimmers Hii Siew Siew, as expected, cruised to easy victory in the Girls A 50m butterfly.
Plagued by leg injuries sustained during a knock in the badminton game, Siew Siew could only manage a time of 30.41”.
It was way off her best but her father cum coach Hieng Chiong said Siew Siew was beginning to display a return to form.
“The doctor actually advised her to stay away from the meet but she was determined to join the competition.
“In order not to miss the championship, Siew Siew only took part in three events.”