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Welson stuns  Olympic champ
Published on: Monday, February 18, 2019

PETALING JAYA: It’s not everyday a Malaysian swimmer gets the better of a reigning Olympic champion. Welson Sim (pic) made a big splash in his first competition of the year by beating reigning Olympic champion Mack Horton to take gold at the Victorian Open swimming championships in Melbourne, Australia, according to The Star.

The 21-year-old Welson timed his final sprint to perfection to win the men’s 400m freestyle in 3:54.77.

Local favourite Horton settled for second with 3:55.43 in the evening finals on Friday.

Horton won the 400m freestyle event at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 but settled for silver behind China’s Sun Yan at the World Aquatics Champion­ships in Budapest, Hungary, the following year.

Horton, who is also the reigning Commonwealth Games champion in the event, was the fastest qualifier for the final ahead of Welson.

Welson’s time may be outside his national record of 3:49.48 set at the Mare Nostrum meet in Monaco two years ago but it’s still a good effort considering it is not a targeted meet anyway.

Welson’s time is already good enough to see him earning a place in the world meet in Gwangju, South Korea, in July for the 400m freestyle under category B.

A country can only enter one swimmer for the event under category B.

Welson, by his standards, is surely not content with that and has already said he is targeting to make the A cut for the Olympics again.

“I hope to qualify for the Olympics for the second time under category A.

“That is my main goal and I hope to do it at the world championships or the SEA Games in the Philippines end of this year,” said Welson, who certainly made the right decision to leave for Australia last month for attachment at the Melbourne Vicente Swimming Club, where Horton also trains.

“It’s part of the training process at this time of the year and I have not tapered.”

The Sarawak-born Welson also sprinted to silver in the men’s 100m freestyle final.

He clocked 50.19 to finish behind 2015 world championships silver medallist Cameron McEvoy of Australia (49.56).



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