Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kimbeley aims to do well in Asian Cup to win Olympic wild card

KUALA LUMPUR: It is better late than never but triathlete Kimbeley Yap is hoping to join her stepbrother, swimmer Daniel Bego, in making a first appearance in the Olympics in August.

The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) have applied for a wild card for the two-time SEA Games champion but whether it is accepted by the International Triathlon Union (ITU) will very much depend on the results of the Asian Cup in Chiangrai at the end of the month.

The race on March 30 will be Kimbeley's first major assignment for the year and she has to prove her worth to be the wild card entry for Asia.

The 23-year-old Kimbeley, who just returned home from a month-long training stint in Sydney, hopes to finish within eight per cent of the winning time in the Asian Cup.

“That will give me ranking points. Due to my current position, I would prefer the option of going to the Beijing Games on a wild card. This would allow me time to prepare better before the competition in August,” she said.

Kimbeley: The 23-year-old hopes to be the first Malaysian triathlete to compete in the Olympic Games.

“If I were to try to qualify on merit, I would need to do six international races in the next three months. It would be too exhausting for me.”

Kimbeley's current situation is due to the fact that she only picked up triathlon in 2005 and needed time to establish herself first before starting to go out for more overseas competitions.

Kimbeley was a national swimmer and won two SEA Games bronze medals before she switched to competing in triathlon (1.5km swimming, 40km cycling and 10km running).

“The Olympic qualification period began in 2005. I was still doing local races and it was only from last year that I went out for top races on the international circuit.

“No Malaysian has competed in the Olympic triathlon and I certainly hope to be the first,” she added.

Last December in Pattaya, Kimbeley successfully defended the SEA Games title she won in Manila in 2005.

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