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AQUATICS: Penang needs world-class pools


AFFECTED: Lack of aquatic facilities hinders development of sport in state

GEORGE TOWN: PENANG may be famous for its beaches but the critics say the state lacks international-class aquatic facilities.

As a result, this has hindered the development and progress of aquatic sport, which comprises swimming, diving, synchronised swimming and water polo in the state.

Penang Amateur Swimming Association (PASA) president Datuk Ong Poh Eng lamented that with the closure of the Penang International Sports Arena Aquatic Centre in Relau since 2010, it has adversely affected PASA's training programmes.

"We do not have a venue to organise national and international events and competitions which we used to actively host prior to 2010," he said.

"Our training programmes have also been adversely affected, especially our diving and synchronised swimming programmes.

"In fact, we had to suspend our diving programme since 2012 due to the lack of proper diving facilities.

"We hope that the repairs and upgrading work at the PASA Aquatic centre will be completed soon so that we will be able to have our home venue back," added Poh Eng who is also the State Sports Council deputy chairman.

He said the state swimming squad were training at the Universiti Sains Malaysia Swimming complex while the state waterpolo squad were training at the Chinese Swimming Club.

Poh Eng, who also heads the Penang bodybuilding and weightlifting associations, said PASA hopes to have its own centre soon so that its programmes, including training and competitions, can be carried out without any disruptions.

The newly elected Malaysian Weightlifting Association president thanked parents for their efforts in sending their children for training and competition which actually has kept swimming alive in the country.

Meanwhile, the PASA selection and awards committee could name only three men and one woman candidates for the PASA's annual swimming awards at a hotel in Tanjong Bungah recently.

PASA Awards Gala Dinner organising chairperson P.H. Cheah said the awards committee named the recipients for the best male swimmer, best male diver and best male waterpolo player and the best female waterpolo player.

But she said the committee decided there were no eligible candidates for awards for the best female swimmer, most promising male and female swimmers, best female diver, the best and the most promising male and female synchro swimmers.

James Chen Voon Lee was named as the Best Male Swimmer for 2012. Among the Universiti Sains Malaysia undergraduate's achievements last year were winning seven gold medals and breaking three meet records at the Penang age-group championship.

He also won two gold, two silver and one bronze at the 2012 Pahang Malaysia Games, and one gold, one silver and two bronze medals at the 16th Asean University Games in Laos.

Ooi Tze Liang won the Best Male Diver award for winning two gold medals at the 2012 Pahang Malaysia Games and two silver and one bronze at the 9th Asian Championships in Dubai last year.

Roll of Honour

2012, Men’s Best Swimmer:  James Chen Voon Lee.
Best Diver: Ooi Tze Laing
Best Rookie Water Polo Player: Wilson Tan
Women’s Best Water Polo Player: Chan Kin Meng
2013 Age-group Best Performers Boys' Open: James Chen Voon Lee (CSC);   Group 1 (15-17 yrs): Alwyn Tan (PSC);   Group 2 (13-14 yrs): Dylan Wong Xuan Kai (CSC);   Group 3 (11-12 yrs): Andre Chuah (PSC);   Group 4 (9-10 yrs): Koay Wern Rui (CSC);   Group 5 (Below 8 yrs): Chris Chew (PSC);
Girls' Open: Lee Jia Sze (CSC);   Group 1 (15-17 yrs): Geneverl Koid Pei Thien (PDST);   Group 2 (13-14 yrs): Elynn Tan (PSC);   Group 3 (11-12 yrs): Clarissa Cheam Hui Ying (PDST);   Group 4 (9-10 yrs): Armelle Soon Min Fang (PDST);   Group 5 (Below 8 yrs): Jesselyn Lim Li Xin (CRC).
Best Team Support Award 2013: Penang Dolphines Swim Team (PDST)
President's Challenge Trophy 2013: Penang Swimming Club (PSC)
Chief Minister’s Challenge trophy: Penang Swimming Club (PSC)

All the winners of the Penang Amateur Swimming Association awards presentation event at a hotel in Tanjong Bungah recently. Pic by K. Kandiah

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