PETALING JAYA: A tortuous six-year wait is about to end for diver Mohd Syafiq Puteh when he competes in next month’s Singapore SEA Games.
In 2009, he fractured both wrists during training in Dali, China, and it dashed his hopes of competing in the Laos SEA Games.
He underwent surgery and toiled through a long rehabilitation programme. He even quit the national team set-up and returned to his hometown, Ipoh.
“Both my wrists snapped as I over-rotated while jumping from the platform and I didn’t land properly. I was in Form Two then,” recalled Syafiq.
“I wanted to give up but my parents told me not to ... not after having trained for so many years. By then, I was already halfway through my rehabilitation, which took almost one year to complete.”
Syafiq, who took up diving when he was just eight years old, heeded his parents’ advice and, when he had recovered from his injuries, began the arduous task of building up the courage to compete in the 2010 Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Malacca.
He ended up with a bronze in the 10m platform.
In the 2012 Sukma in Pahang, he finished with a bronze again in the same event.
Syafiq’s perseverance paid off last year when he bagged two golds – 10m platform syncro and 1m springboard individual – and one silver – 3m springboard individual – at the Perlis Sukma. It provided him the route back into the national squad.
Syafiq rejoined the national team in January – and is now looking forward to his first SEA Games campaign.
“Coach (Yang Zhuliang) has entered me as the second diver after Ooi Tze Liang for the 3m springboard individual.
“I may not win the gold ... Tze Liang is the favourite as he’s the Glasgow Commonwealth Games springboard champion. But any medal will do for me,” he said.
This may be his first SEA Games, but Syafiq is already a winner on the World Grand Prix circuit.
He partnered Loh Zhiayi to take gold in the 3m mixed synchro event at the Puerto Rico FINA Diving Grand Prix last month. They had finished fourth in the 3m springboard synchro mixed event at the Canadian Diving Grand Prix in Gatineau, Ottawa, a week earlier.
“It was a pleasant surprise to win the gold in Puerto Rico as it was only my second international competition for this year. Zhiayi and I only trained a few times because it was only introduced last year,” said Syafiq.
“But it has given me the confidence to go for it at the SEA Games.”