SIBU: His name may not ring a bell but with his record breaking feat in the recent Inter-State Schools Swimming championship held in Sabah, 12-year-old Nee Gui Ping is certainly looking to enter the realms of stardom.
The new kid on the block delivered a superb performance in the championship when he returned with not one but two coveted titles in the championship.
He was adjudged the best performer in the U12 category and also the best overall performer for his record breaking feat in the Boys U12 100m butterfly set by ex-Olympian Sabah superstar swimmer Lim Keng Liat.
Nee sliced off more than one second when he clocked a time of 1’05.02 to improve on the time of 1’06.61 set by Lim in 1992.
He also splashed his way into the record book in the 50m butterfly when he registered a time of 29.65”.
“It’s a tough swim and a nice record. Given more exposure, Gui Ping should be able to achieve more accolades,” his coach Hii Hieng Chiong said.
Hii admitted it took a long long time to unearth a naturally gifted talented swimmer like Nee who has both the height and the built.
“In swimming, the height of a swimmer can always be a crucial factor that determine the results. Gui Ping, at 162cm and weighing 52kg, has the necessary height and the built. He is slim, fast and very alert and all these factors alone could eventually be of full advantage to him provided he knows how to utilize them,” he said.
Hii believes Nee could go a distance, so long as he is willing to push hard and pump in an extra ounce of energy to move on.
“Thus far, he has shown lot of potential and encouraging promises. He is passionate about the sport and he is determined for success. Whether he is destined to go for further glory depended very much on his own attitude and ability,” he added.
For Nee, his involvement in swimming came rather late when he was nine years old. His mother, Hii Pick Houng, who is also a distant cousin of Hieng Chiong, wanted to put Nee in the pool to prevent him from causing disturbances at home.
Hieng Chiong, who is also the coach of Sibu Amateur Swimming Association, offered to be his full time coach and the rest was history.
“The day he came in, I knew there is something he possessed that is different from others. He is truly a rare gem and not many time could one discover such a naturally gifted talented swimmer,” he said.
Hii is careful not to let his young prodigy suffered any burnout before even reaching his full potentials.
He admitted efforts were made to ensure that Nee would continue to develop a passion and undying love for the sport.
“That is the most important part. So long as he continues to develop a passion for the sport, it should be the driving force that will push him to work harder for his future success.”
The pupil of SJK Chung Sing and the oldest of three siblings, Nee started to show his potential when he represented Sarawak in the National Age Group in Malacca last year. Never mind he failed to get any satisfactory results but that outing was enough to inspire him to work harder.
“It was a trip that gave me all the confidence and the inspirations to surge forward,” Nee said when interviewed.
Gui Ping collected a silver in the 4 x 100 Freestyle and a bronze in the 4 x 50m Individual Medley.
In the recent Inter-Division Swimming championship, Gui Ping also broke six records, enroute to emerging the best performer n the U12 category.
“My biggest ambition now is to emulate the shining examples of Ling Ee Yee, a local swimming star who ruled the pool in the past few years. (Ling had since retired from the sport). He has so many records in the book and I hope to trim them one by one,” he said confidently.
To excel and to succeed, Gui Ping admitted that he needs to work extremely hard.
He is currently putting in lots of training practice at Bukit Lima Swimming Pool to improve his speed, fitness and endurance.
He also took up weightlifting to improve on his power and stamina.
And with the National Age Group coming up, Gui Ping hopes to redeem himself at the meet and hopefully, returned with a respectable results.