Youngest Malaysian To Qualify For Ironman Kona


When he is called the just-do-it young man, you just have to agree to the dub. Let us tell you why.

Lim Chee Yong, 20-year-old, is originally from the Langkawi Island. This young man’s fresh involvement in the sports community but fantastic performance has left publics flabbergasted in IRONMAN Langkawi Malaysia 2017.

“I picked up running in March 2016.” We too were left dumbfounded upon finding out that time available was certainly insufficient for Chee Yong before he embarked on his Ironman journey. However, he did it.

After his completion of SPM (Malaysian Certificate of Education), he started his employment as a full-time marketing assistant at his uncle’s logistics holdings company and has been working for three years already. Occasionally, Chee Yong plays basketball as his pastime, and unfortunately, basketball being his only pastime lasted for seven years due to his absence of enthusiasm.

Finally, he decided to acquire running. Started with a short distance from 3km, 5km to 10km, Chee Yong has slowly landed himself in long-distance run. Undoubtedly, signing up for his first 30km running event has revealed how his dub came about.

Back in April 2016, having picked up running for just a month, Chee Yong did not overthink but completed his debut 30km run. According to this young boy, the run was immensely tough where his legs cramped all the way, however, he pushed himself to the finishing line. An amateur runner would not logically opt for such a distance, but Chee Yong was exceptionally incredible.

Having had leg cramps during his debut run did not affect his fervor, but his passion for running became more tremendous. In the same month, the courageous Chee Yong participated in his very first full marathon. “And I managed to break my sub-5.” We could see his eyes with a glowing intensity as he finished his sentence.


Chee Yong

To trust yourself to test your limits, and that is the courage to succeed. We are always inspired to not limit our challenges but to challenge our limits, but how many of us truly have the audacity and boldness to put the very first step. Chee Yong has.

Having switched from running to triathlon is no longer to do with your health profile improvement. Commonsensically, doing all three disciplines at one shot is almost inconceivable to many. Without undergoing a proper training program, Chee Yong took part in IRONMAN Langkawi Malaysia 2016 alongside his uncle who is also a triathlete. “My uncle has confidence in my capability, and he registered the race for me even before I did it for myself.” Chee Yong explained.

His preparation for IRONMAN Langkawi Malaysia 2016 began rather hard-hitting because of his deficiency in swimming. There were so many different components for his success in his first triathlon. “This is a sport that incorporates many challenges: body, mind, and soul will need to come together and help body push beyond its limits.” The diversity of triathlon was a struggle to Chee Yong.

Not knowing anything about swimming, Chee Yong turned out to be a self-taught swimmer by watching Youtube videos and getting advice from his friends. For instance, the freestyle stroke was said to be the fastest swimming style, hence he paid attention to obtaining the skill. Three months into the race in November 2016 definitely required more hard work.

From signing up for a membership in a 20-meter pool, practicing his swimming every day for a month, being able to float, to succeeding in swimming in the sea, he eventually thought, “I think I have the resilience to swim in a big race.” Never an experienced swimmer, he has never expected the unforeseen circumstances. “I keep telling myself, I can do it. And I achieved a sub-12 in my first IRONMAN.”


IRONMAN Kona is a dream race to every triathlete. Life surprises you when you least expect it. Becoming a qualifier to Kona is, indeed, the biggest surprise in Chee Yong’s life. It all happened when he made a decision to go harder.

“After my encounter with the 2016 IRONMAN Langkawi Malaysia, I think I am ready for my second edition.” However, his major issue was the need for a decent bicycle. In Ironman 2016, he borrowed a bike with rudimental specifications from his uncle. In 2017, he was fortunate and thankful to have CM Bikesports, Selangor sponsored him a JAVA Scia TT Bike.

Chee Yong’s battle armor was basically fulfilled. The next thing he focused on was a more strenuous training. “My training routines came this way; having my breakfast at 5.30am, commencing my work-outs from 6am to 8am, sometimes until 9am or 10am. I switch the disciplines every other day. On some days, I go for both or all three.” The Ironman delineated.

Being born in Langkawi Island, he is grateful to have utilized the open sea. “It is one of the pros for me because I could study the courses before the race.” The day has come. This spirited boy’s only hope was to finish the race. Swimming went pretty smooth to him, without a cramp or jellyfish sting. “When I got up from the sea, five athletes were leaving with their bicycles. I instantly pushed myself until I encountered the technical issue on my bike. Slowing down my speed led me to lose my determination.” However, he did not lose faith, but to move forward.

“I knew that I had to save my energy for running. I did not think too much and sprinted in my last portion of the run.” Along the way, energy gel, bar, and sports drinks were his companions. Even with his well-trained physique, mental toughness was extremely significant for Chee Yong to persevere through difficult statuses to succeed. Under his division of age 18 to 24, he completed the race with a slight improvement than last year’s result which was 11 hours 45 minutes across swimming 3.8km, cycling 180km and running 42km.

“Securing the qualification for IRONMAN Kona has shown an evolution of my capability. This is an opportunity that I cannot turn down my family especially my uncle, friends, and supporters.” Chee Yong expressed. The Ironman World Championships 2018 is less than a year away. It will be an occasion to compete against a deep field of Ironman athletes all around the world.


Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us. Similarly, Chee Yong is blessed enough to have pretty defined blocks and will take each block as it comes, focusing on the ultimate goal of Kona.

Currently, Chee Yong is undertaking a new approach to training volume, particularly with his biggest focus being the bicycle, ensuring he manages a more punishing but professional cycling performance. Apart from an appropriate bike-fitting session, he is also planning to seek for a more proper way of swimming. “Not to forget that I have to take care of my diet, and completely stop consuming carbonated and alcoholic drinks.”

Furthermore, Chee Yong will boost his tropical climate training. For instance, sometimes after cycling, he would continue his run which takes charge of interval running, marathon pacing and recovery run, especially under the very hot climate. “Also, I have the motivational picture set as my phone wallpaper as each time I look at it, I feel the drive. Barry Lee, yes him. He used to be the youngest Malaysian to qualify for Ironman Kona. He is my motivating force,” said Chee Yong.

Chee Yong’s next target in Ironman World Championships will be 10 hours and 30 minutes to 11 hours. It is truthfully a journey for this just-do-it guy, but he has believed that the more consistent he can be with his preparation, the better return he will absolutely get. Despite the sacrifices he has to make, such as taking out a chunk of time, as long as he feels that he is on a good roll, he is willing and determined to give everything to be in the best position for the race.

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writes and edit personality, product features, and news. Occasionally, she produces coverage of local and international cycling races. She runs and hikes during her free time.


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