Jun Hoong to return for big test in two weeks

  • Diving
  • Tuesday, 10 Mar 2020

PETALING JAYA: Former world champion diver Cheong Jun Hoong will wrap up her training in China in two weeks’ time and return home for her biggest test – a battle against old teammates to see if she can go to the FINA Diving World Cup in Tokyo next month.

And she has to pass that test first before knowing if she can get a place in the Tokyo Olympics.

Former national coach Yang Zhuliang said Jun Hoong will be ready for the daunting challenge of taking on Pandelela Rinong and Nur Dhabitah Sabri in the special trial to decide the two divers for the 10m platform individual at the Diving World Cup, which serves as the final Olympic qualifier.

The special trial is expected to take place in the final week of March at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil.

“We will be back in Kuala Lumpur either on March 20 or 21. There is time as each nation must finalise the squad by March 27.

“She is training well and is better than before. Her technique is much better compared to two months ago.

“It’s because of her age but she can still improve,” said the former Chinese coach, who played a pivotal role in leading her to a historic gold medal at the 2017 World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The 29-year-old is the only Malaysian diver left in China and she is training all alone at the training facility.

National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said he was informed that Jun Hoong’s name had been registered for the World Cup meet.

“Her name is in the long list but the trial will determine her participation,” he said.

There should also be no worry for Jun Hoong to get back to Malaysia if she has no health issues.

“She is training in Dongguan, which is part of the Guangdong province. Health Ministry’s ruling on quarantine is only for those coming back from Wuhan (Hubei) and two other provinces (Zhejiang and Jiangsu) plus those who failed the thermal scanner check,” said Shapawi.

Jun Hoong, a Rio Olympics silver medallist, has not competed in any tournament since June 2018 because of a long-standing knee problem.

A total of 18 individual spots are up for grabs in the World Cup. Only one Olympic spot remains – in the 10m platform individual where Pandelela has already earned a berth through the world meet in Gwangju, South Korea, last year.

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