PETALING JAYA: Former Malaysian diving coach Yang Zhuliang is sad that the team he nurtured and turned into a force to be reckoned with are now falling apart.
The Malaysian team heading to the World Aquatic Championships in Gwangju, South Korea (July 12-28), have been beset with a series of injuries.
The latest is the shoulder joint injury sustained by 17-year-old Kimberly Bong while training in Wuhan, China.
The Sukma (Malaysia Games) gold medallist is now doubtful for the 10m platform discipline at the world meet.
Zhuliang is perplexed by the injuries suffered by his former divers.
“If Kimberly has a shoulder joint injury, it is the end of her career,” said the Chinese coach.
“Jumping from 10 metres puts extreme pressure on the shoulders when you hit the water.
“I’m sad as I groomed her for the first two years when she joined the national team.
“I am surprised why there are so many injuries. Is it because the coaches are unable to manage the athletes or is there a lack of quality in training?
“And what happened to the so-called emphasis on sports training?,” asked Zhuliang.
“At this rate, don’t talk about winning an Olympic gold, I’m not sure if they can even qualify,” he added.
Kimberly was slated to partner Pandelela Rinong to fight for an early Olympic ticket in the 10m platform synchro event next month.
Her absence means Malaysia are only left with seasoned diver Leong Mun Yee to partner Pandelela.
Nur Dhabitah Sabri has partnered Pandelela before and they won a bronze at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games but she is likely to focus on the 3m springboard individual and synchro.
Pandelela’s regular partner Cheong Jun Hoong is out of the squad after her knee surgeries and is also doubtful for the Asian Diving Cup in Bukit Jalil in September.
Even Pandelela is not fully fit as she has been bugged by a back injury. The two-time Olympic medallist skipped the final leg of the Diving World Series in London.
Under Zhuliang, diving contributed a medal at the last two Olympics. Pandelela bagged bronze in the 10m platform individual in London and partnered Jun Hoong for the silver in the 10m platform synchro in Rio de Janeiro.
Jun Hoong also won a historic gold in the 10m platform individual at the world meet in Budapest in 2017.
Despite his achievements, his contract was not renewed.
The national diving team are now handled by his compatriot Li Rui and Australian Christian Brooker.
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