Jun Hoong’s hopes go plunging

PETALING JAYA: Platform diver Cheong Jun Hoong trained very hard, all alone and braving the risks of being in China – for just one reason, to qualify for the Olympics.

Her teammate Pandelela Rinong also made a sacrifice for her cause. But it could all be in vain.

The FINA Diving World Cup meet in Tokyo next month – the final qualifying tournament – may be called off.

It looks like the World Cup meet from April 21-26 will be postponed indefinitely as the aquatics governing body have decided to leave it to the Japanese organisers to decide.

The Japanese government will hold an emergency meeting to decide on tighter measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic and any decision made will affect sporting activities.

The signs don’t look good. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has already called off the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Aquatic Centre on Friday.

The newly-constructed venue was to host the Diving World Cup meet. Eighteen Olympics spots were to be decided in the springboard and platform individual events at the meet.

Jun Hoong was reunited with former national coach Yang Zhuliang in November under a special training stint funded by the National Sports Council to get the 2017 world champion platform diver to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in the 10m individual platform.

Jun Hoong had been entered for the event alongside Nur Dhabitah Sabri after Pandelela made way for Jun Hoong. The Sarawakian already qualified for the individual platform event and was only focusing on the 10m platform synchro with Leong Mun Yee at the World Cup.

“I am sure the organisers or FINA will come out with a directive. There is no news yet on whether it is on or postponed.

“It will be a good opportunity to test the venue but if it’s postponed, it affects everyone. So, we have to wait and see. Training continues as usual in the meantime,” said Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) secretary Mae Chen.

Jun Hoong, the Rio Olympics silver medallist in the 10m platform synchro with Pandelela, has not competed in any tournament since June 2018 because of a long-standing knee problem.

Jun Hoong is not dwelling too much on the many uncertainties and wants to only focus on making sure she is ready when the time comes.

“I just focus on training and do what I can and take care of myself,” said Jun Hoong, who is training alone in Dongguan, China, with Zhuliang to guide her.

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diving , malaysia , Cheong Jun Hoong


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