TAKING ON ASIA BEFORE THE WORLD
National team to compete in Macau and Budapest
AJITPAL SINGH email@example.com
DIVERS in the Podium Programme will compete in the Asian Cup in Macau on June 15-18 as a warm-up for the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary in July prior to the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games.
Two-time Olympic medallist Pandelela Rinong will lead the women’s team, comprising Leong Mun Yee, Nur Dhabitah Sabri, Wendy Ng and Cheong Jun Hoong.
Reigning Commonwealth Games champion Ooi Tze Liang, Ahmad Amsyar Azman and Chew Yiwei make up the men’s squad.
National coach Yang Zhuliang will also send his divers from the ‘Kita Juara’ programme and the national back-up squad for the Taiwan Invitational, also next month.
Syafiq Puteh, Loh Zhiayi, Jasmine Lai, Traisy Vivien Tukiet and Kimberly Bong are in the ‘Kita Juara’ initiative while the back-up team will comprise Jellson Jabillin, Gabriel Gilbat Daim, Hanis Nazirul Jayasurya and Syahmi Rezal.
“The Asian Cup is important for the Podium Programme divers as I will gauge their performances before I pick a squad for the world meet.
“I may not risk those who are injured as they need to be at their best for the Sea Games, where we have been given a target of winning all 13 gold medals on offer,” said Zhuliang.
The divers are currently in Dongguan, China for centralised training.
“Everything is going well in training. The divers are tightening their dives and routines. As for the back-up team, I am currently introducing tough routines.
“We do not have a big pool of divers of similar standard. Injury to our top diver will dent our hope of a major haul in the Sea Games,” said the China-born coach.
Zhuliang is giving equal importance to both the world meet and Sea Games this year.
“We are strong in the women’s category and I hope they will return with medals from Hungary,” Zhuliang added.