Tze Liang in action at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games recently. -GLENN GUAN/The Star
PETALING JAYA: Diver Ooi Tze Liang was born with flat feet but he has not allowed his condition to stop him from excelling in diving.
Coach Yang Zhuliang, for one, is impressed with his achievement.
“It (Tze Liang’s achievement) is more remarkable as he has flat feet condition ... some coaches felt that he could not become a top diver when they first saw him,” said Zhuliang.
“That’s because his feet tends to roll over to the inner side when he is standing or walking.
“It is difficult for a diver with flat feet to train as he will find it harder to balance when he is standing on the edge of the board because he cannot bend (his feet) like normal people.
”But look where he is now,” said Zhuliang.
Tze Liang has indeed come far. And now he has a chance to cap what has been a defining year for him by emerging as the biggest medal winner for Malaysia at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 19-Oct 4.
The 20-year-old bagged a gold in the 3m springboard individual at the recent Glasgow Commonwealth Games, where he beat two-time world junior champion Jack Laugher of England.
Tze Liang also finished behind another Englishman Tom Daley, the world champion in 2009, for a silver in the 10m platform individual in Glasgow.
Tze Liang, or Davis as he is known to his friends, is now set to tackle five events in Incheon.
But coach Zhuliang is confident Tze Liang can stand up to the challenges, given the resolve he has shown in training since returning from Glasgow.
“The Commonwealth Games success has not changed him a bit. He is still the same Tze Liang, who quietly goes on polishing his routines. I’m very happy with his attitude,” said Zhuliang, who added that the diver will raise his level of difficulties in preparation for the taxing programme in Incheon.
”The good thing is that he is young ... and the Commonwealth Games showed him what he can achieve through hard work and self-belief.”
Besides the 10m platform and 3m springboard individual, Tze Liang will also compete in the 1m springboard individual as well as the synchro springboard and platform.
Tze Liang will partner Amsyar in the 3m springboard synchro and Chew Yi Wei in the 10m platform synchro.
The divers are now in Guangzhou to prepare for the Games.
The diving squad, who should contend for medals in all 10 events, also comprise Pandelela Rinong, Leong Mun Yee, Wendy Ng Yan Yee, Cheong Jun Hoong, Dhabitah Nur Sabri and Youth Olympics silver medallist Loh Zhiayi.
In Guangzhou four years ago, Malaysia bagged four silvers and five bronzes to finish second behind powerhouse China.