Double misses for Elvin Chia, two others break down
SYDNEY Sept 16 - Asian champion Elvin Chia staged a late fightback but that was not timely enough to land him a semifinal ticket or a new national record in the men's 100m breaststroke swimming competition at the Sydney Olympics here today.
Chia missed the top 16 semifinal places when he finished his heat six with a time of 1:02.81s and failed to rewrite his national record of 1:02.59s which he set in the United States in July.
Chia finished overall 19th position among 65 swimmers competing in the nine heats with the leader Italian Domenico Fioravanti clocking 1:01.32s.
Two other Malaysian debutants - Sia Wai Yen and Dieung Manggang - psychologically lost the battle before the heats started when they failed to overcome a stage fright at the International Aquatic Centre here.
The 16-year-old Wai Yen finished at the bottom in eighth place in heat four of the women's 400m individual medley, recording a poor time of 4:59.18s and was ranked 25th among the 28 swimmers taking part.
Wai Yen also did not come close to her national record of 4:52.52s set at the Brunei SEA Games last year.
Dieung, the 19-year-old Sarawakian, also finished last in the second heat of the men's 400m freestyle when he recorded 4:03.77s, ranking 43rd among 46 swimmers in the event.
Chia, who vowed to bounce back in the 200m breaststroke on Tuesday, was a bit disappointed with the positional outcome, praying that he could maintain his 15th position after the eighth heats.
"I thought I will qualify and make a history when the eighth heats was over ... I totally forgot that there was one more heat to go," said the 23-year-old US-based student.
Chia said he swam in a good race and staged a late charge in the last 35 metres to finish second in the heats.
"I don't believe in giving excuses and I think I can qualify for the semifinals for my next event, the 200m breaststroke," he said.
Wai Yen said she was overawed with the occasion at the aquatic centre and was nervous to start her race.
"I was shivering in the dressing room and when I came out to the side of the pool, I was scared to see so many spectators at the centre.
"This is my first time in such a big competition and the whole world is watching and also the pool was oversize for me," said Wai Yen, who will also compete in the 200m individual medley on Monday.
Wai Yen said she was used to compete and train in the 25m pool and not the 50m pool at the Olympics, saying that she tired herself by pushing hard in the first 200m.
"I don't have the stamina after the first 200m because I was frighten and went fast in the beginning. However, I am satisfied with my time and gained valuable experince in the Olympics," she said.
Dieung suffered numbness on his left leg while in the pool due to nervousness.
"I was already broken down before entering the main pool area. In fact, I was frighten while meeting other swimmers in the dressing room," he said after the race.
He said he tried not to be scared with the occasion but could not overcome it in time before his dip.
Dieung, who is to compete in the 1,500m freestyle event on Friday, kept up pace with the others in the first 200m but fizzled out in the final 200m.
He had clocked a personal best of 4:00.34s to clinch gold in the Brunei SEA Games last year. - Bernama