Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Brunei Town

National swimmers head for world stage

Fadhil Yunus

Brunei Darussalam swimmers Christian Nikles, Nur Haziq Samil and Hayley Wong will be representing the country in the upcoming 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary that begins on June 18.

The championships will be Nikles and Nur Haziq Samil’s first international appearance this year, while 14-year-old Wong will mark her first international event in her competitive swimming career.

Nikles previously competed in the 15th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) alongside national teammate Muhammad Isa bin Ahmad in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in December last year.

The national swimmer said, “From December until now, training has been pretty good,” adding that “It’s been fairly consistent and we’ve been fortunate to have training space and time throughout the whole pandemic.”

Nikles expressed confidence leading up to the world meet as he seeks to improve his times and beat the national record.

Hayley Wong, Christian Nikles and Nur Haziq Samil. PHOTOS: FADHIL YUNUS

He added, “Being almost half a second away from my personal best in the 100m freestyle with this training load, I feel pretty good leading up to Budapest.”

The 24-year-old will also be looking to break the national record in the 50m and 100m freestyle events, which he holds for both.

Meanwhile, Nur Haziq Samil will be representing the country for the first time since the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Manila, Philippines in December 2019.

The national swimmer, based in Thanyapura, Thailand as part of his FINA Scholarship, has taken part in five competitive events in Thailand. He said, “We train 10 times per week. We do four sessions of dry land. After morning practice, we do gym training and, in the afternoon, we swim again from 4pm to 6pm.”

Nur Haziq, who favoured the 200m freestyle, said he hopes to lower his time to under the two-minute mark, which will secure him the national record.

Anderson Lim holds the record for the 200m freestyle event with a time of 2:02.26s which he sets during the Olympic Games in London in 2012.

Nur Haziq close towards breaking the national record after clocking a time of 2:03.30s in the 29th National Age Group Swimming Championships on Saturday.

“I’m almost there to hit the mark. I think this is my fastest time since previous competitions including the ones in Thailand. I think I did a time of 2:05 or 2:06 but this is the closest one to the record especially as it is one week before the competition.

“It will be my first world competition at senior level,” said Nur Haziq, who previously took part in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2018.

Wong, who is leading the next generation of female swimmers said, “I feel excited to be part of the team to represent the country for the World Championships.”

“I’ve been training with the national team for around two to three years,” said she said , who broke Nuralia Abdul Rahim’s long-standing 31-year-old record in the 200m breaststroke event.

“I’m hoping to swim faster than I am now and break the national records. I will try my best in the tournament.”