Safety’s the only platform for divers after Terauchi case

PETALING JAYA: National divers are taking extra precaution after news broke that Japan’s Olympic diver Ken Terauchi has tested positive for Covid-19 two days ago.

According to Japanese media, the 39-year-old Terauchi, who is a five-time Olympian, tested positive after his temperature soared over 37 degrees Celcius last week.

The Osaka-based diver, who is also a three-time Asian Games bronze medallist, is the first member of the Japanese Olympic team to test positive.

With the Covid-19 cases still steadily rising in Japan, national diver Chew Yiwei says it does not bode well ahead of the team’s preparation for the Diving World Cup next February in Tokyo.

“When the news came in, I was shocked and so were the others,” said Yiwei, who reported for training with his teammates at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil last month.

“I hope Terauchi is doing better but morale here has been affected as he is the oldest elite diver in Asia to have come down with the virus.

“It can happen to anyone, so we are taking extra caution to distance ourselves during and after training.

“I believe the safety of our health lies in the good hands of the National Sports Institute (NSI). The National Sports Council (NSC) have also taken extra measures by closing the hostel gates after 9pm, so no one can go out.

“What we can do is to still put in the hard work as usual while doing our best to keep ourselves safe outside.”

Yiwei, the Indonesian Asian Games bronze medallist in 3m springboard, believes his preparation is back on track after missing three months of pool training due to the movement control order earlier this year.

“I think I’m doing quite well as my fitness level is actually better than the pre-lockdown days but there are still lots of catching up to do.”

Yiwei is aiming to earn his first Olympic appearance in Tokyo at the Diving World Cup, which is the last Olympic qualifying event.

Women divers Pandelela Rinong, Leong Mun Yee, Wendy Ng Yan Yee and Nur Dhabitah Sabri have already earned their Olympic spots.

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