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Pandelela and Co face the music for partying in China


Pandelela Rinong competes in the womens 10m platform diving final of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Aquatic Centre in Gold Coast, Australia, April 12 2018. GLENN GUAN/The Star

Pandelela Rinong competes in the womens 10m platform diving final of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Aquatic Centre in Gold Coast, Australia, April 12 2018. GLENN GUAN/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) have acted fast to suspend the allowances of seven national divers with immediate effect for consuming alcohol during an overseas training stint in China – and more disciplinary action is set to follow.

The impending sentence for the disgraced seven could either be as light as having their allowances cut by half for two months or a drastic decision of being dropped from the Asian Games in Jakarta in August.

Asum yesterday confirmed that Podium Programme divers Pandelela Rinong (pic), Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Chew Yiwei, and four juniors under the National Sports Council (NSC) programme Hanis Nazirul Jaya Surya, Jellson Jabillin, Gabriel Gilbert Daim and Kimberly Bong were captured guzzling alcohol in a few video clips leaked on the social media.

In the incident shot during Chinese New Year while attending a training camp in Guangzhou, China, in February this year, Pandelela, Dhabitah and Yiwei were seen consuming alcohol and partying alongside Hanis, Jellson, Gabriel and Kimberly.

Asum secretary Mae Chen said an investigation committee will determine the next course of action.

“They’ll forward their recommendations to Asum’s disciplinary committee,” said Mae, who issued a joint statement with NSC and National Sports Institute (NSI).

“We were made aware of this discipline issue yesterday (on Tuesday). The videos involving the divers were filmed on the eve of a Chinese New Year dinner, hosted by the accommodation manager in China during their three-day break.

“Three coaches were present during that trip but none were unaware of the incident, which took place behind closed doors in a private area.

“Asum, NSC and NSI and met the divers and made it very clear the high standards that were expected of them.

“The athletes have fallen short in this case,” said Mae, adding that they were disappointed with the actions of their athletes.

“As a national athlete, they should be aware that they carry the image of the country.

“A warning has been given to them. As athletes, they should have been devoted to training locally and overseas, as it involves the government’s money.

“Athletes have admitted to their wrong doings and have promised never to do it again.

“They’ve learnt from their mistakes and they have apologised to the public,” she added.

The diving camp were also rocked by rape allegations involving one of the divers by Chinese coach Huang Qiang late last year.

Huang Qiang, who represented the country at the 2012 London Olympics, was charged in court but acquitted recently.

However, the damage was already done as NSI had already terminated the services of Yang Zhuliang despite producing a world champion diver in Cheong Jun Hoong and two Olympic medallists (Pandelela Rinong and Jun Hoong).

Zhuliang’s contract was not renewed when it ended in December last year.

After Zhuliang’s departure, Australian coach Christian Brooker was brought in to jointly handle the team with Chinese coaches Zhang Yukun and Li Teng.

Related story:

Pandelela and Dhabitah among 7 divers to face the music for China training camp party

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