Na­tional team to com­pete in Ma­cau and Bu­dapest

New Straits Times - - Sport -

AJITPAL SINGH ajit­pals­ingh@nst.com.my

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.

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