Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Uncharted territory for Heidi at Worlds

Heidi Gan was the first Malaysian to qualify for the Olympic open-water swimming competition. AZMAN GHANI / The Star
Heidi Gan was the first Malaysian to qualify for the Olympic open-water swimming competition. AZMAN GHANI / The Star

PETALING JAYA: Open water swimmer Heidi Gan may be an Olympian but she will not be able to draw on her experience when she competes in next week’s World Championships in Barcelona.

Her place in history as the first Malaysian to take the plunge in the gruelling discipline at the world meet is already assured but Heidi is hoping to achieve better progress than just being the country’s representative.

“The quality of the field in the World Championships is very high and the number of participants are usually double that of other championships. You need different race tactics and strategy.

“The conditions will be also be different in Barcelona because we will be racing in a bay of an ocean as opposed to a lake used in the London Olympics last year.

“Setting a target in the Open water is always difficult for these reasons. I finished in the top 20 in the Olympics and if I can replicate that result, that will be incredible. I am still relatively new to the sport and still in the learning process,” said the 24-year-old, who will compete in the women’s Open 10km event.

The double Indonesian SEA Games gold medallist left for Barcelona last Sunday to check out the course.

“We will be racing in Moll de la Fusta (Port of Barcelona). I haven’t been there before but my coach and I have done some research.

“It will be quite warm because it is summer in Europe now. The water will be quite similar to Australia. I like it because I’m used to this type of conditions.

“I am not sure about the currents and other water conditions of the course but I will have plenty of time to get ready. I will watch the other athletes compete on the course as the 5km event will be held before my 10km race,” she added.

Heidi was one of the two Asians to finish the marathon swimming event at the London Olympics, finishing a creditable 16th in the women’s 10km.
 
LIM TEIK HUAT - The Star

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