PETALING JAYA, July 26 — Malaysian Olympic swimmer Welson Sim Wee Sheng set hearts fluttering on social media after his brief TV appearance at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.
Sim, 24, was filmed walking with the Malaysian contingent at the Japan National Stadium clad in a Hang Tuah-inspired costume and a face mask.
Despite appearing in a close-up shot for just three seconds, Sim’s boyish good looks won over Malaysians who took to Twitter to share screenshots of the dashing athlete.
Several users gushed over his “handsome” visage, with many saying he was attractive enough to rival Korean celebrity heartthrobs.
Twitter user @scrltbbh even compared Sim to K-pop idol D.O. from the boyband Exo.
Sim’s popularity also went international with one Thai Twitter user reposting an old photo of Sim with the Malaysian swimming team from the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.
The post got over 18,000 retweets with several Thai people asking if they could “trade” Thai male celebrities in exchange for the Malaysian swimmers.
Social media users in China were equally lovestruck by Sim, with one Weibo post featuring photos of the Kuching-born sportsman racking up more than 9,000 likes.
Sim’s Chinese fans already have an affectionate moniker for him, calling him “Malaysia’s Flying Fish Prince.”
Sim participated in the men’s 200m and 400m freestyle races over the weekend but fell short of qualifying for the finals in either category.