Zhuliang: We must outperform shuttlers
NATIONAL coach Yang Zhuliang wants diving to leapfrog badminton as the nation’s No 1 contributor of medals in major championships.
The China-born said his divers must step out of their comfort zone and fixed mindset that returning with only one medal from a major championship is a success.
“Badminton is the No 1 contributor of medals in major championships. In the Rio Olympics last year, badminton returned with three silver medals while we only achieved one silver,” Yang Zhuliang told Timesport yesterday.
“We need to aim for more medals in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Our divers have been on the podium in every major diving competition over the years but it is always only one medal.
“Of course, we do not have a big pool of quality divers but I believe the current batch in the national team are good enough to challenge China and other top nations for medals in more than one event.”
Zhuliang admitted that Malaysia’s progress has stagnated in the sport due to the inability to progress accordingly.
“I am getting slightly worried. Most of our divers are at a very high level. They only need to fine tune smaller aspects but these minor things normally make a huge difference between medal winners and the others.
“I am trying hard to get them into their best possible form and hopefully, results will show soon,” said Zhuliang.
Pandelela Rinong has been the major contributor of medals in the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World Cup, World Championships and Olympic Games.
The others — Cheong Jun Hoong, Leong Mun Yee, Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Wendy Ng — have also made breakthroughs of late but they are more suited for synchro events in major events.
Ooi Tze Liang made headlines with a gold in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games but the Penang-born has yet to build on that performance due to poor form and injuries.
Ahmad Amsyar Azman, Chew Yiwei and Syafiq Puteh are inconsistent.
This year, Pandelela-Jun Hoong started the ball rolling with a silver in the women’s 10m platform synchro in the Beijing leg of the World Series, followed by a bronze in the following round in Guangzhou.
Pandelela, Jun Hoong, Wendy and Nur Dhabitah have left for Kazan for the third leg of the World Series, which starts on Friday.
“From now on, the divers should aim for at least two medals in major competitions. I want them to aim higher as winning medals will boost their confidence and ego.
“They must also dethrone China in at least one event for a gold in the 2018 Asian Games. Anything is possible in diving.
“I want my divers to have more drive to succeed. They must always aim better in every meet as then only it will be considered progress,” Zhuliang added.
Tze Liang, Amsyar and Yiwei have confirmed their participation in the Gatineau leg of the Diving Grand Prix on April 6-9 but Zhuliang is hoping to send other divers, who are being groomed for the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games, for the competition. Ajitpal Singh