PETALING JAYA: It was another feather in the cap for former national swimming ace Alex Lim Keng Liat as chef-de-mission of the Malaysian contingent for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore from Aug 14-26.
The 30-year-old Keng Liat, who swam in three consecutive Olympic Games from 1996, will become the youngest-ever chef-de-mission of a Malaysian contingent for a major Games.
Since quitting competition after the 2006 Doha Asian Games, Keng Liat has taken up a coaching role and he is now the swimming chief coach for Sabah.
“The OCM wanted to find a young blood to lead the contingent and they approached me to find out whether I was keen on it. I did not expect this as there are also other Olympians before me. It’s a big honour for me to take up the appointment,” he said.
He was the first Malaysian to win a gold medal and a silver medal in the 100m and 200m backstroke at the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games and he went on to claim the National Sportsman of the Year award.
In the 2002 Busan Asiad, Keng Liat clinched the silver medal in 100m backstroke. He was also the first Malaysian to win a silver and a bronze medal in the 50m and 100m backstroke respectively at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.
Keng Liat reached the semi-finals of the 100m backstroke in the 2004 Athens Olympics. He also holds a record of having won a total of 14 gold medals in the SEA Games between 1997 and 2005.
Keng Liat also reached a high when he qualified for a world championship 100m backstroke final in Barcelona in 2003 with a new national record of 54.77, which is unlikely to be broken for some time.