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Tuesday March 13, 2012

Huang Qiang to test his ability in 3m springboard at world meet

PETALING JAYA: Naturalised Malaysian Huang Qiang (pic) will compete in the men’s 3m springboard individual at the Canada and United States legs of the World Grand Prix Circuit in case he has to do double duty at the London Olympics in July.

The Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) will send all the eight divers who have already qualified for the Olympics along with men’s platform diver Ooi Tze Liang, who did not make the cut.

The other male divers going are Bryan Nickson Lomas and Yeoh Ken Nee while the women are Pandelela Rinong, Leong Mun Yee, Traisy Vivien Tukiet, Wendy Ng Yan Yee and Cheong Jun Hoong.

But all eyes will be on Huang Qiang, who is slated to compete in the men’s 3m springboard individual for the first time since making his impressive comeback to competition for his adopted country at the World Cup in London last month.

Huang Qiang partnered Bryan to clinch a historic bronze medal at the World Cup to earn a quota spot for the country in the discipline at the Olympics.

Head coach Yang Zhuliang said there is a strong possibility they will opt for Huang Qiang to take up Bryan’s slot for the men’s 3m springboard individual at the Olympics if the former China star can show he is up to the challenge.

Bryan and Ken Nee have already secured the two maximum spots for the country in the 3m springboard individual.

“Bryan has to focus on the men’s 10m platform individual as well as the 3m springboard synchro, where we stand a good chance of getting an Olympic medal,” said Zhuliang.

“There is no point getting them to do too many events now if we are serious about making our presence felt at the Olympics.

“It will be taxing because they have to compete in the preliminaries and semi-finals for the individual.

“Huang Qiang has good basics for the springboard and my only concern is how fast he can raise his difficulties to match that of the top pairs as he had stopped diving for some time.

“We plan to test him out in the World Grand Prix legs in Montreal (May 3-6) and in Fort Lauderdale (May 10-13).

“The training stint in Guangzhou, after we return from the two competitions, will be crucial as this is where we hope to prepare all the divers and raise their difficulty levels higher before we go to London.”

Zhuliang also said that Huang Qiang will partner Bryan in the 3m springboard synchro in the Canada and US meets.

“Huang Qiang-Bryan had the lowest degree of difficulties among the finalists at the World Cup but they made the least mistakes to win a medal,” he said.

“They stand a good chance of getting a medal at the Olympics if they can improve over the next few months.”

Huang Qiang came to Malaysia to coach after retiring from the national team in 2006.

He married a local girl and received his Malaysian citizenship last July.

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