Swimmers Foo Jian Beng (left) of Selangor and Sabah’s Marellyn Liew (inset) were crowned Men’s and Women’s Athletes of the Games respectively after both won three gold medals each. (NST Picture)
By Jaiarajo Letchumanan
KUALA TERENGGANU, June 9 (Bernama) -- Selangor swimmer Foo Jian Beng was disappointed that he was not able to qualify for the Beijing Olympics in August despite bettering the qualifying time in the men's 100m butterfly.
But there was consolation for the 18-year-old student, who is also a part time swimming coach in Selangor, when he was named as the Sukma sportsman for breaking two national records and one championship record in the 12th edition of the biennial games which came to an end Monday.
Jian Beng's national record of 50.94s in the 100m bettered the Olympic qualifying time of 50.95s and erased former national swimmer Allan Ong's old record of 51.31s set at the 2001 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.
However, the Sukma is not recognised as one of the qualifying meets for the Olympics and put paid to Jian Beng's hopes of donning national colours in Beijing.
"It is just too bad that Sukma is not recognized as one of the qualifying tournament for the Olympics. Of course I was disappointed with that but winning the sportsman award is some consolation for that disappointment," said Jian Beng.
Jian Beng's other gold medals came in the men's 50m butterfly where he also set a new national record with a time of 23.45s, erasing the old record of 23.49s set by Allan Ong also in 2001.
His third gold came from the men's 4x100m relay when he anchored Selangor to the gold to a new games record.
Jian Beng also won four silvers -- in the 200m individual medley, 50m backstroke, 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly.
Sabah swimmer Marellyn Liew was adjudged the best Sportswoman for setting one national record and one championship record on her way to three gold medals.
She set a new national record in the women's 100m butterfly with a new time of 1:01.82s, rewriting Luisa Los Santos' old record of 1:02.08s set at the Korat SEA Games last year.
Marellyn anchored Sabah to a new games record in the 4x100m of 3:56.51s, rewriting their own record of 4:01.69s set at the 2004 SUKMA in Negri Sembilan and also set a new games record in the 50m.