Meeting Kimbeley Yap for the first time, you can’t help but feel there’s something so intrinsically special about this young lady. Truth is Kimbeley Yap is a famous sports personality whose journey to the top is truly awe-inspiring. Kimbeley was a national swimmer, triathlete and cyclist who won gold at the SEA or South-East Asia Games and not once but twice.

Growing up in Miri, Sarawak, she took up competitive swimming at a tender age and trained with Coach Shazali Salleh and later on, Coach Foo of China. By 13, she was already recruited into the elite National Squad at Bukit Jalil. Schooled in Chinese, her promotion and relocation to Kuala Lumpur saw her briefly enrolled into Bukit Jalil Sports School before settling comfortably with Sri Cempaka.

Formidable at freestyle and butterfly, she won bronze medals at the 1999 Brunei SEA Games and the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games of 2001. However in 2004, she made a bold and perhaps unorthodox decision to take on the challenge of being a triathlete and competed in the 2005 SEA Games - Subic Bay. Remarkably she won gold and attributed her advantage to being a top-notch swimmer. The Olympic Distance Talent Triathlon involves a 1.5km swim, 40km cycling and a 10km run where she is able to complete in under 2-hours.

Two years later at the 2007 SEA Games – Pattaya, she emerged gold medallist again in the triathlon. Besides these, Kimbeley had also raced at the 2006 Asian Games – Doha where she was ranked 6th. and later that year at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. Alas, owing to back injury, she opted for cycling instead and joined the National cycling team where admirably, she emerged as Malaysian Champion in 2011. Thereafter she competed in the Omnium in cycling at the 2011 SEA Games – Palembang but narrowly missed the bronze by coming in 4th. She then decided to retire from competitive high level sports and is currently pursuing a degree in Sports Science at Malaysia Open University.

Kimbeley is presently a professional Personal Trainer with Fitness First gym at the Curve. She prepares and trains members ranging from a beauty queen to professionals, athletes and even housewives. She’s mighty professional and philosophical about it and vitally aids them in weight-loss, getting and staying in shape as well as recovery from injuries – some of which are serious. She’s prescribes cross training and the “Big 5” which emphasises on squats, lunges, push-ups, planks and overhead reach to augment on balance and posture en route to exercising on equipment.   

With diet, she prescribes the elimination of all process foods as much as possible and to go the traditional way which is “home cooking”. Beyond everything, she advises that one ought to enjoy the workouts they are doing and be motivated by purpose. Kimbeley passionately encourages young people to do sports. She rationalises that sports help to make you fit, improve alertness of your brain and reflexes plus bolstering your self-confidence and spirit of competitiveness. “That will help you immensely through life”, she says. For relaxation, she loves to read and she enjoys contemporary music. In so far as dressing is concern, she loves to dress whenever she has an opportunity. Her mantra in dressing is you can opt for any colour or fashion but they must match and complement one another. Nevertheless purple and all shades of it is her favourite.

What might come as a surprise to some is that Kimbeley is sister to national swimming icon Daniel Bego who broke steep barriers by winning 5 Gold medals and broke 4 records at the 2009 SEA Games in Laos. Sports and fitness certainly have their magical moments and we wish both Kim and Daniel all the best in their endeavours and to keep on being beacons of inspiration.