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By A. Kevin Davasagayam
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 -- The COVID-19 pandemic may have wrecked the plans of many sports organisers and dreams of athletes but it has not diminished national swimmer Welson Sim's determination to qualify for his second Olympics.
Measures taken by authorities worldwide to curb the pandemic have forced the cancellation of many swimming tournaments but the Sarawak-born swimmer is taking it in his strides.
He said the restrictions imposed were necessary to safeguard the health and well-being of athletes.
Nevertheless, Welson will have to make up for lost time as he plunged into the pool, with his mind still focused on qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in July.
"We have previously been out of the pool for months, so I think we should optimise the time we have now for more training. I make the most of this time to reach the best level of fitness that I expect of myself and eventually make it in the qualifiers.
“I do not think we are lacking anything important through these cancellations, as it also gives us time to step up our efforts on training. Every time a swimming event is cancelled, we always make up by having time-trial which gives us a good idea on our performance level even though it is unofficial," he told Bernama.
The 23-year-old, who made his Olympics debut at the 2016 Rio edition, said he is in good shape to press ahead for qualification to Tokyo.
In order to achieve his Tokyo dream, Welson will undergo 10 to 12 pool training sessions and three gym-based workouts a week.
Welson, who bagged 12 medals including three golds in four SEA Games, is part of an eight-member team undergoing quarantine-based training at the National Aquatics Centre in Bukit Jalil.
Yesterday, Malaysia Swimming confirmed the cancellation of the 57th Malaysia Invitational Age Group Swimming Championships, an Olympics qualifier scheduled for March 4-7, due to the extension of the Movement Control Order.