PETALING JAYA: There will be no rest for Malaysia’s world diving champion Cheong Jun Hoong (pic).
Despite achieving a historic win at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, she will get straight down to work and get ready to tackle two individual events at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games next month.
Head coach Yang Zhuliang plans to enter the 28-year-old for the 1m springboard and 10m platform individual events. The diving competition is scheduled from Aug 26-30.
Jun Hoong, who only had two weeks’ training on the high board, rose to the occasion to beat the more fancied Chinese and North Korean favourites to take gold in the women’s 10m platform individual at the world meet last Wednesday.
She had also partnered Pandelela to take bronze in the 10m platform synchro last Sunday.
Jun Hoong, who is the country’s first-ever diving world champion, is headed for an interesting battle with Pandelela in the 10m platform at the KL Games.
Pandelela, the world championships bronze medallist in the 2015 edition in Kazan, Russia, has reigned in the last four editions of the SEA Games in the 10m platform individual since Laos 2009.
“We cannot afford any rest for the divers, including Jun Hoong, as we have only a few weeks left before the SEA Games,” said Zhuliang.
“We will probably return to China for training because we are unable to train at the National Aquatics Centre in Bukit Jalil.
“The waterpolo team will need to use the pool and their SEA Games competition starts early.
“Jun Hoong should compete in two individual events at the Games if her condition is okay.
“I will not enter her for the 3m springboard as I do not want to stress her back, especially as we have the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games next year.”
Malaysia’s diving campaign in Budapest came to an end on Friday with Nur Dhabitah Sabri finishing 10th in the women’s 3m springboard individual final.
Dhabitah posted 292.35 points in her first-ever final appearance.
Rio Olympic champion Shi Tingmao of China took gold with 383.50 points ahead of teammate Wang Han (359.40) and Canada’s Jennifer Abel (351.55).
Zhuliang was satisfied with Dhabitah’s achievement in reaching the final.
Dhabitah had also reached the women’s 10m platform individual final at the Rio Olympics last year.
“She is only 18 and I cannot ask for more. She has not reached her full potential yet. She has a great future in diving,” he said.