It’s been a nosedive after coach Zhuliang’s exit, says Zainal

  • Diving
  • Friday, 24 May 2019

PETALING JAYA: Bring back diving coach Yang Zhuliang (pic).

Negri Sembilan Amateur Swimming Association president Zainal Othman said that letting the Chinese coach leave was a big mistake.

Zainal, who is contesting one of the two vice-presidents’ posts at the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) annual general meeting this Sunday, said changes have to be made before the standards of aquatics in the country take a dive for the worse.

Zhuliang brought Malaysian diving to world class level but despite his achievements, his contract was not renewed at the end of 2017.

He churned out a world champion in Cheong Jun Hoong (women’s 10m platform individual) and Olympic silver medallists in Jun Hoong-Pandelela Rinong (women’s 10m platform synchro).

Currently, Li Rui and Christian Brooker are handling the divers but Zainal said the coaching and training programmes need to be strengthened.

“How can coaches who were handling juniors impart knowledge to our elite divers who have reached world-class standard?

“We need an experienced coach like Yang Zhuliang to handle the divers.

“It was a mistake to let him go. I don’t think we can defend the Olympic silver medal next year with the current coaching set-up.

“Zhuliang built the team from scratch and if I win, I will try my best to get him to return.

“The National Sports Council tried but he said that he will not return if there is no change in the Asum leadership.

“It’s not just in diving, in swimming we’re also sinking as we can only depend on Welson Sim. An association is measured by the success of their athletes on the world stage and sorry to say, we’re not in good shape at the moment,” added Zainal, who was a former Asum deputy president from 2000-2010.

At the Asian Games in Indonesia last year, Malaysia lost their status as the second best nation behind China in diving.

Our divers, who bagged a silver and three bronzes, were overshadowed by the South Koreans who claimed two silvers and three bronzes.

In the Diving World Series season, Malaysia seem set to finish empty-handed before Nur Dhabitah Sabri came to the rescue with a bronze in the absence of Chinese divers in the final leg in London last Sunday.

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