PAYBACK: Veteran beats compatriot after losing to her twice
SIOW Yi Ting reaffirmed her reputation as the fastest Malaysian swimmer in the women's 100m breaststroke by edging compatriot Christina Loh for the gold medal at the Southeast Asian Championships in Singapore on Thursday.
Yi Ting, a three-time Olympian, was determined to win the race following two straight losses to Christina at the Singapore age-group meet in March and two months later, in the Malaysia Open.
The 28-year-old and Christina both dipped under the Olympic invitational time at last year's Indonesia Sea Games with the former winning the gold.
In Singapore, Yi Ting swam a well coordinated race to clock 1:10.66 for the title, 0.72 seconds ahead of silver medallist Christina while Thailand's Salubluek Chavunnooch finished third on 1:11.54.
As the Olympic qualifiers under invitational times are based on rankings, Yi Ting holds an advantage over Christina as she has clocked a faster time.
Yi Ting is hoping to emulate sailor Kevin Lim's record of four Olympic Games by qualifying for London.
The veteran took a one-year break from the pool to complete a degree in Arts and Sculpture at the University of Arkansas before returning last August for the Sea Games.
"I hope to become the first local woman to compete in four Olympics on my last attempt.
"I believe I have done well to get where I am at this stage," said Yi Ting, who plans to retire after the Olympics, on Thursday.
"Of course, I was hoping to go under the 'A' time but I'm just as happy to record a time close to it.
"I, however, do not want to think about Olympic qualification just yet as I have other events here to focus on."
Sea Games champion Khoo Cai Lin, meanwhile, turned on the heat to earn Malaysia's second title of the day in the women's 400m freestyle.
She clocked 4:19.06 to edge Indonesia's silver medallist Saumi Raina (4:20.16) and Thailand's Benjaporn Sripanomthorn (4:24.12).
Yap See Tuan also made progress by recording a personal best of 1:03.67 in taking silver in the men's 100m breaststroke behind Singapore's Khoo Chien Yin (1:02.79).
See Tuan was just one second off the 12-year-old national record of 1:02.59 held by former Asian champion Elvin Chia.
Ian James Barr (men's 200m individual medley), Marellyn Liew (women's 50m butterfly) and the women's 4x100m freestyle relay quartet (Erika Kong, Hii Siew Siew, Marellyn and Cai Lin) were bronze medallists on Thursday.