Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Catch-22 situation confronts Daniel

HAVING just finished with Malaysia's best ever record by a male swimmer in the Sea Games, Daniel Bego will be taking a well-deserved break before making a decision whether to focus on studies or the double target of next year's Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

The 20-year-old Sarawakian is bent on completing his A-levels next year which would take up the bulk of his time until around August, which will leave him with just two months to prepare for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on Oct 3-14. The Asian Games in Guangzhou, China will come just a month later on Nov 12-27.

"I'm giving both of them (studies and sport) equal priority for now. I will have a look at how my chances are of really making an impact in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. If I feel I really do, then I can just switch to focusing more on my swimming," said Daniel in Vientiane yesterday.

"But I'll decide when the time comes. I can't say yet what it's going to be. Right now, I'm just thinking about having a break."

Daniel completed the 25th Sea Games with five gold and one bronze medals. He swam the 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle and 100m butterfly in Sea Games and national record times. He also won the gold in the 200m butterfly, while his bronze medal came in the 4x200m freestyle. He is likely to be crowned the male Athlete of the Games.

That result, said Daniel, is still not something he is satisfied with, naming 1998 Asian Games gold medallist Lim Keng Liat as still the greatest ever swimmer in the country, despite his own Malaysian record of five gold medals in the Sea Games.

"What he achieved in swimming is still something way ahead. I still regard Keng Liat as the greatest ever swimmer in our country. He brought us to another level. I'm still not there yet," said Daniel.

He was one of the fortunate ones to have landed the controversial "Jaked" body suit which neutralised the potential threats from Singaporean and Thai swimmers, who all wore similar costumes. But Daniel looks forward to the ban on the hi-tech suits effective Jan 1.

"I'm really looking forward to this being about swimming and not about suits again. It will be a challenge to see whether we can break the records we set with the suits when we swim without them. If I can break all those records I set with the suits, it would be great," he said.

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