Four-time Olympian Mun Yee set to dive into breakdance


New outlook: National diver Leong Mun Yee plans to finish her Masters studies after she retires and set up a diving academy.

PETALING JAYA: Leong Mun Yee will most likely perform her last dive at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

But she is not walking away from sports. She is taking up a relatively new discipline – breakdancing.

And she believes she has a lot of work to do. After years of diving, Mun Yee believes breakdance “will be a bit more difficult and dangerous”.

Mun Yee, who has served the country for more than two decades, is set to do what no other Malaysian athlete has done. She will become the first to compete in five Olympics in Tokyo next year.

Mun Yee has taken part in Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012. However, she was not picked for the Rio de Janeiro edition in 2016.

With four Olympic appearances, Mun Yee is a member of a very exclusive club comprising sailor Kevin Lim and shuttler Lee Chong Wei.

Tokyo will see two more new four-time Olympians in Pandelela Rinong and track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang.

The 35-year-old Mun Yee from Ipoh sees Tokyo as her encore.

“I love studying and decided to go for my Masters in Mass Communications at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) last year. But then the Olympics have been pushed to next year. I have to postpone my Masters studies to give priority to my Olympic preparations.

“After I retire, the plan is to go back to finish my Masters but I also want to set up a diving academy.

“I’m also interested in doing breakdance. It’s considered a sport now and it’s something I never had a chance to do before,” said Mun Yee on the webinar session Reaching for the Stars and Beyond, organised by the National Sports Council.

Breakdance will be making its Olympic debut in 2024 and Mun Yee was learning how to shuffle dance in her spare time when the athletes had to stop training from mid-March to June.

What’s her secret to lasting so long in a sport that is technical and physically demanding?

“Motivation is very important and I get this from my coaches, family, teammates and friends.

“I always set myself a target each year and I work hard to get it,” said Mun Yee, who already has a silver and two bronze World Aquatics Championships medals.

“Of course, it’s not as easy as it seems (to continue diving). But you need courage, mental strength and patience,” she explained.

Patience and time management are certainly her biggest virtues. She showed it by completing her degree studies in UPM, although it took her 10 years, no thanks to the distraction of constant competitions.

It will be the perfect end to her career if she ends the long wait for her first Olympic medal next year. She will certainly be dancing with joy, even if it is shuffle dance.

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