PETALING JAYA: Are diving powerhouse China worried about Malaysia?
But one can’t help thinking like that after the Malaysian team were denied the chance to train in Beijing, where the Chinese national divers also train.
This has forced the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) to send their Rio Olympic-bound squad to train in Guangzhou.
The Olympic diving competition will be held outdoors and the Chinese divers are said to be training at a similar venue in Beijing.
“We are not allowed to train in Beijing until after the Olympics ... and their reason is quite obvious,” said Asum secretary Mae Chen.
“The challenge is to minimise the time lost in training. Travelling takes up time and divers will need to adjust to local conditions wherever they are.”
Diving has been a huge contributor of gold medals to China in the Olympics. In fact, China stamped their mark at the London Olympics in 2012 by grabbing six out of the eight gold medals at stake.
The Malaysian divers need to train elsewhere because of the ongoing renovation at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil.
Mae said they would now apply for visas for the divers to train in Guangzhou but, in the meantime, they will head for Sarawak for a three-day training camp.
“The divers will train at the newly-built Sarawak Aquatic Centre. We will use them to test out the diving boards and dry gym equipment for the July Sukma (Malaysia Games) in Sarawak.”
Malaysia have qualified for six out of the eight Olympic events in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The only events Malaysia failed to qualify are the men’s synchro events – 3m springboard and 10m platform.
Malaysia will have representation in all four women’s events after Cheong Jun Hoong-Pandelela Rinong bagged a silver in the women’s 10m platform synchro final at the recent Diving World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.