Zhu­liang: We must out­per­form shut­tlers

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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

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