PETALING JAYA: Age is not on diver Cheong Jun Hoong’s side. And diving coach Yang Zhuliang is not taking his chances and wants the 29-year-old to focus only in one event on her comeback attempt after two years out in the cold.
The former world champion platform diver has not taken part in any competitions since she went under the knife to mend her broken knee ligaments in 2018.
Jun Hoong had hopes of making her comeback in April to secure an Olympic spot through the Diving World Cup meet in Tokyo and went to China to train under Zhuliang but the Covid-19 pandemic had turned everything upside down.
Fortunately, Zhuliang followed Jun Hoong back to Malaysia and has been guiding her for the last one month under the Road to Tokyo special training camp in Bukit Jalil.
Jun Hoong bagged an Olympic silver medal with Pandelela Rinong in the women’s 10m platform synchro in Rio de Janeiro four years ago but Zhuliang feels that she should forget about defending it.
Jun Hoong also dived in the 3m springboard synchro where she finished fifth with Nur Dhabitah Sabri in Rio.
“She is not young anymore and it is easier on her to focus in one event,” said Zhuliang.
“I understand she is a former springboard diver but it is harder for her if she has to train for the 3m springboard individual and also the synchro and 10m platform like previously.
“Besides, my contract is to prepare her only for the 10m platform individual event at the World Cup,” said the China-born coach, who was instrumental in guiding her to win gold in the women’s 10m platform individual at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest in 2017.
Zhuliang also hopes that Jun Hoong would get the chance to go for one competition before the World Cup meet in February next year.
The World Cup is the final qualification event for the delayed Tokyo Olympics.
“The Australian Grand Prix meet has been pushed to November but I am not sure if it will still be on by that time because of the Covid-19 situation. We have to wait and see, if not there will be no competition for her to try out.”
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