Zhuliang back in Bukit Jalil after absence of 30 months

Deep probe: National divers (from left) Pandelela Rinong, Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Leong Mun Yee undergoing swab tests for Covid-19 at the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex yesterday.

PETALING JAYA: It was business as usual for former national diving coach Yang Zhuliang, who checked into the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex with 141 others under the Road to Tokyo training camp.

Zhuliang, who was among the 27 coaches there, was back in Bukit Jalil for the first time since he left under controversial circumstances in December 2017.

Athletes from aquatics, karate, archery and the para athletes under the Road to Tokyo programme were allowed back to the Bukit Jalil Complex to get ready for the start of a month-long training camp under quarantine-like conditions.

Zhuliang said he would be responsible for training only former world champion Cheong Jun Hoong.

“She is the only one I am coaching. The other divers have their own coaches taking care of them.

“We just went for a swab test and the results will be known in two days’ time. We can only start training after that.

“I have not even seen the training pool in Bukit Jalil but it’s just good to be back, ” said Zhuliang, who is still unsure on the time slots for his training sessions with Jun Hoong until they actually enter the swimming pool.

“Whatever it is, my focus is to help Jun Hoong recover her skills.

“Fitness-wise, she is okay now but she needs to start from scratch as it has been three months since training stopped.

“We will spend more time in the dry gym when we start training again, ” said the China-born Australian, who helped put Malaysia on the world diving map during his two previous stints (2001-2005 and 2008-2017).

Jun Hoong, who bagged the women’s 10m platform individual title at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary in 2017, has not taken part in any competition since going for knee surgeries in 2018.

She requested to go back to Zhuliang in December last year to try and qualify for the Tokyo Olympics but returned home to Malaysia when the movement control order was issued due to the Covid-19 pandemic in mid-March.

Zhuliang’s task is to get Jun Hoong ready for the Diving World Cup in February next year.

The meet in Tokyo is the final Olympic qualifier for diving.

The divers who have already qualified for the Olympics are Nur Dhabitah Sabri, Wendy Ng Yan Yee, Leong Mun Yee and Pandelela Rinong.

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