Jun Hoong hon­oured to be lead­ing con­tin­gent

New Straits Times - - Sport - Ajit­pal Singh

NEWLY crowned div­ing world cham­pion Cheong Jun Hoong is all ex­cited to be one of the three flag-bear­ers for Malaysia at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the KL Sea Games at Na­tional Sta­dium in Bukit Jalil on Aug 19.

Jun Hoong, who won the women’s 10m plat­form in­di­vid­ual gold medal at last month’s World Cham­pi­onships in Budapest, was se­lected along with cy­clist Az­izul­hasni Awang and silat ex­po­nent Mohd Al-Juf­feri Ja­mari, who are also world cham­pi­ons in their re­spec­tive field.

“I thank the con­cerned par­ties for giv­ing me this hon­our and recog­ni­tion to be one of the flag­bear­ers,” said Jun Hoong, who is cur­rently in Guangzhou, China for cen­tralised train­ing, yes­ter­day.

“I take it as a re­ward from my coun­try for all the dif­fi­cul­ties and ob­sta­cles, I had faced all these years to be­come an ac­com­plished diver.

“It is spe­cial this time as Malaysia will have three flag bear­ers. It is the most valu­able gift I have ever re­ceived as an ath­lete and I am ex­cited.”

Na­tional coach Yang Zhu­liang said it is a great hon­our for div­ing.

“Malaysia have achieved a lot in div­ing of late and this is a huge recog­ni­tion for the sport.

“It will also mo­ti­vate the divers to achieve a clean sweep of 13 gold medals in the Sea Games,” said Zhu­liang, whose 16-mem­ber squad will re­turn from their train­ing camp in China on Aug 18.

Div­ing also en­joyed the same hon­our at the 2015 Sin­ga­pore Sea Games with Leong Mun Yee as the flag bearer.

Az­izul, a bronze medal­list at last year’s Rio Olympic Games, achieved a his­toric gold in the men’s keirin at the World Track Cy­cling Cham­pi­onships in Hong Kong in March

“It’s a price­less ex­pe­ri­ence to com­pete and to carry the flag in your home Sea Games. It’s a recog­ni­tion for cy­cling and I hope this will spur my team­mates to fight all the way,” said Az­izul.

As for Al-Juf­feri, he was the win­ner of the men’s Pu­tra E class at the World Silat Cham­pi­onships in Bali in De­cem­ber last year.

Jun Hoong was re­cently given a clean bill to com­pete in the Sea Games af­ter re­cov­er­ing from a back prob­lem. She will com­pete in the women’s 1m spring­board and 10m plat­form in­di­vid­ual events.

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