PETALING JAYA: It’s going to be a long and anxious wait for Malaysian divers Cheong Jun Hoong and Chew Yiwei (pic) to qualify for Tokyo Olympics after two qualifying tournaments slated in April were postponed.
FINA, the international federation for aquatics, will be giving new dates for the Diving World Cup which was slated from April 21-26 and the Artistic Swimming Olympic qualification tournament (April 30-May 3) due to the Covid-19 containment measures.
Both events were to be held at the newly completed Tokyo Olympic Aquatic Centre.
In a message to all their 195 member countries, FINA assured that “they are doing their utmost to preserve athletes, coaches and officials’ health, while being perfectly aware of the severe limitations they are enduring concerning their training and normal preparation for the Olympic Games.”
Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) secretary Mae Chen said the two Olympic qualifying events would be postponed to June but the place and exact dates have not been confirmed.
“It will give the divers a breather as they have more time to practise their dives when the Olympics comes.
“We hope the situation can be resolved and the athletes can start training again, ” said Mae.
“But the athletes will have to start all over again as two weeks of non-training is not ideal at all.
“Unfortunately, we have to do our part to curb the spread of the virus, ” she said.
Jun Hoong has been training in China under former national coach Yang Zhuliang since November last year but has been called back due to the Covid-19 situation.
The World Cup meet was to be the first competition in two years for the 2017 world champion platform diver, who was on a long lay-off due to serious knee injuries.
Indonesia Asian Games bronze medallist in individual springboard Yiwei also needs to perform at the World Cup meet to realise his dream of making the Olympics for the first time.
The biennial World Cup meet offers 18 spots for the respective individual springboard and platform events.
Three more nations will also qualify in the respective synchro springboard and platform events.
FINA also announced the postponement of the final Diving World Series leg in London end of this month.
Only the first leg of the Diving World Series in Montreal took place last month with two subsequent legs in Beijing and Kazan already called off.
Four Malaysian divers – Pandelela Rinong, Leong Mun Yee, Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Wendy Ng Yan Yee, have qualified for Tokyo so far.
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