By Karen Bong
KUCHING, April 30: The Sarawak government today presented an incentive worth RM91,500 to national swimmer Welson Sim to support his intensive training in Melbourne, Australia.
Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah handed over the incentive to Sim in a brief ceremony at the concourse of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex here today.
“The national ministry looking after this (welfare of athletes) always complained about insufficient funds but then the state government will not let our state athletes like Welson be on the ledge,” he told reporters.
“That’s why we (the state government) have to come in. It is not just him (Sim) but other dedicated high performing athletes as well.”
Abdul Karim expressed pride that Sim was doing exceptionally well and hoped he would achieve more performance breakthroughs and victories, especially competing in the Olympic Games in the future.
“We are expecting him to go to the Olympics. Now he is training with a better coach, in a better environment, he is able to excel.
“Sarawak is so proud of you, and in the event that you may face any limitation, you can always come back to us (the state government for assistance),” he assured Sim.
Meanwhile, Sim expressed gratitude to the State Sports Council (MSN) for the support and the Sarawak government for the financial assistance as the gesture reflected that the government acknowledged his outstanding swimming performance.
“The costs, including expenses, to undergo training in Australia are expensive due to the currency rate, but the entire experience is really worthwhile,” said Sim.
“This incentive will be a motivation, and it will definitely help me to go further in my sport,” he added.
Sim revealed that he would be training in Melbourne for another two months before returning for the World Championships in July and the SEA Games in December as well as other plans along the year.
“My main goal for this trip in Australia is to train with Australian swimmer Mack Horton (who is the 2016 Rio Olympic gold medallist) so as to improve and learn from the Australian team in preparation to qualify and compete in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo,” he explained.
Sim defeated Horton in the Men’s 400m freestyle category to take home the gold medal at the 2017 Mare Nostrum Tour Swimming Championship in Monaco.
Just two days ago, he bagged four gold medals in the Malaysia Open Swimming Championship 2019 held in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, and at the same time, broke his own national record in the 100m freestyle with a time of 49.54s.
“I feel I am going on the right track, so, hopefully, there will be better things to come,” he concluded.
Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan and MSN director Dr Ong Kong Swee were present. — DayakDaily