Malaysian teen eyes triathlon medal in SEA Games
PETALING JAYA — Age is no barrier – that’s what many aging athletes say. But when Chong Xian Hao says it, there’s a different meaning altogether.
He is just 18.
Xian Hao will be one of the youngest competitors in the triathlon and duathlon at the Philippines SEA Games in Manila.
And it’s not the first time he is going in as the “kid” of the Games. He was also the youngest triathlete at the Commonwealth Games and also qualified for the Youth Olympics in Argentina last year.
Despite his young age, he has hopes of helping his team to the bronze medal in the triathlon and duathlon mixed relays.
“It can be quite a challenge in this sport at my age, because physically I’m not fully developed or as experienced as the other athletes, but that has never stopped me,” said Xian Hao.
“As I’m younger, I have more energy and I will use that to my advantage.
“I always enjoy a challenge and I hope to be able to inspire other young athletes to pick up the sport and show that age is just a number.”
Xian Hao said he picked up the sport when he was just 10 because his parents saw an advertisement in the newspaper.
“We had never heard of triathlon before and it was interesting because it combined cycling, swimming and running all in one. And that was the main attraction for me. I liked different sports.
“Also because it’s three disciplines, I hardly get bored during training because I’m always doing something different. At the same time I get to meet different people from each sport, which is inspiring and fun.”
The biggest challenge at the SEA Games will be the home side. The Philippines have dominated the triathlon in the last two Games winning all the gold medals.
“They have a lot of good athletes and they have dominated the sport. It will be difficult to better them but we will do our best.”
In triathlon mixed relay, Xian Hao will be partnered with Thiang Chong Yoong, Yeong Zhen Yi, Aimi Iwasakai Muhd Moritoh while in the duathlon mixed relay he will team up with Mohd Haziq Junaidy, Zhen Yi and Allison Yee.