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Daniel sets milestone with magnificent five-gold feat
Tue, Dec 15, 2009
The Star/Asia News Network

TWO incredible efforts have given Daniel Bego a place in history as the first Malaysian male swimmer to win five gold medals in an edition of the SEA Games.

Daniel wiped three seconds off his own Games record to retain the 200m freestyle title at the National Sports Complex last night.

And the energetic 20-year-old barely had time to catch his breath before returning to win the 200m butterfly for the first time.

Daniel did not have it easy as he was forced to come from behind in both races to enable Malaysia to end the swimming competition with an outstanding tally of nine gold medals - making it the best-ever effort by a Malaysian team at a Games outside Malaysia.

Daniel was more than one body-length behind American-trained Filipino Miguel Molina going into the last 50m of the 200m freestyle race but an incredible surge saw him touch home for gold in 1:49.22, erasing the Games record of 1:52.32.

It was also a new national record, improving on his previous time of 1:50.92 set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In the 200m butterfly, Daniel put up another spectacular performance as he clawed his way back from fourth position going into the final turn to win the race in 2:00.61.

The 200m butterfly was the only individual race in which he failed to lower the meet record but his performances, undeniably, make him the most outstanding athlete of the Games thus far.

Daniel also finished with a bronze from the 4x200m freestyle.

"I don't want to just lose without a fight. I came here not expecting much but just to try to defend my titles. I took better care of myself and was not sick but I was still having a bit of a problem with my shoulder," he said.

"Winning so many (gold medals) is just awesome."

The Sarawakian also smashed the longest-standing Games and national record in the 400m freestyle on Saturday.

Khoo Cai Lin also made a splash on the final night of the swimming programme, taking silver in the women's 200m butterfly in 2:14.30.

Cai Lin, who had taken the 400m freestyle gold medal in a Games record time, almost chalked up the biggest upset when she led 2006 Doha Asian Games gold medallist Tao Li of Singapore after the halfway stage.

However, the more illustrious Singaporean managed to surge ahead for the gold. But Cai Lin still had the satisfaction of taking almost two seconds off her national record of 2:16.11 set in July this year.

"Her underwater kick is better than mine ... after all, she is a butterfly specialist. I'm still happy with the silver as I did not even make the final last time in Korat," said Cai Lin, who also broke Games and national records in the 400m and 800m freestyle.

A poor start cost Chui Lai Kwan the chance to win a second gold medal, settling for the bronze in the women's 100m freestyle in 26.22.

Siow Yi Ting's bid to win a fourth gold was also dashed. The Negri Sembilan swimmer, who is still recovering from fever, finished sixth in the 400m individual medley in 5:05.45.

 
 
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