KUALA LUMPUR: The seven national divers embroiled in an alcohol-consuming and partying scandal during a training camp in Guangzhou, China, in February, came together to issue a public apology.
In a press conference yesterday, the seven divers – Pandelela Rinong, Chew Yiwei and Nur Dhabitah Sabri (Podium Programme) and Jellson Jabillin, Gabriel Gilbert Daim, Kimberly Bong and Traisy Vivien Tukiet (Kita Juara Programme) – were joined by other teammates in asking for forgiveness for their inappropriate behaviour.
Their antics came out in the open after a few video clips showing them guzzling alcohol surfaced on social media recently. The divers unanimously agreed that their actions had tarnished the repuration of the sport.
Yiwei, who acted as the spokesman of the group, said they decided to come together to express their heartfelt apologies and promised that their antics will not be repeated.
“We agreed that everyone will sit together as a team to face the media and the public today.
“I guess some of our media friends have seen the videos and we admit that we did not behave appropriately.
“The videos involving us were filmed during the eve of the Chinese New Year where we had a dinner hosted by the accommodation manager in China.
“Since we did not get the chance to spend Chinese New Year back home, we were happy to have a three-day break to enjoy the festivities with people whom we regard as our second family.”
Yiwei added that the coaches were unaware of the videos as the incident took place behind closed doors in a private area.
“We did consume beer during dinner. There were also the usual silly bantering and dancing that we do during our breaks.
“We have learnt from our mistakes and we take full responsibility for our wrongdoings and misbehaviour.
“This incident will not happen again in the future. In our private lives, we recognise that the word sorry is meaningless without a change in our behaviour.
Yiwei said they had promised the Asum (Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia), ISN (National Sports Institute, NSC (National Sports Council), their coaches, Podium Programme and Kita Juara programme coordinators that they would be more responsible to the juniors and exercise more caution in training.
“We carry the image of our country. We regret that this has happened and we are sad that this has tarnished the reputation of diving.
“We humbly seek the kind understanding of our supporters and public not to judge us based on this isolated incident,” he said.
“The diving team have been training hard and we have shown our great determination by delivering results in every competition.
“We love our sport and we are determined to do what it takes to get the public to trust us again, especially at the Indonesian Asian Games in August,” he added.
Pandelela said they were prepared to face whatever punishment recommended by the Asum-NSC-NSI disciplinary committee later.
“As young adults, we are still learning how to be better persons everyday.
“I guess to say sorry is the biggest sign of humility,” said Pandelela.