Online diving meet costing thousands, but it’s worth it

PETALING JAYA: It’s only a two-day Malaysia International Online diving competition but RM24,000 will be spent to provide proper Internet connectivity.

And Malaysia Swimming (MS) say it will be money well spent for the sake of Olympics glory.

It has taken a lot of planning behind the scenes for the online live streamed competition starting today.

Malaysian divers will take the plunge at the National Aquatics Centre in Bukit Jalil while their counterparts in Singapore, Japan, New Zealand and Australia will be diving in their respective training bases.

For national coach Christian Brooker, the biggest hurdle to staging this one-of-a-kind event, is the Internet connectivity.

“The main challenge is Internet, it’s not as good as what we think. You need to run high definition video with dedicated servers and it’s really hard with the current network, ” said Brooker.

“We have a budget but to get things to work is really tough.

“In fact, I feel like I gained a university degree in high definition video production, ” joked the Australian, who hatched the idea of having the competition to help the divers gauge their competitiveness level.

With the Tokyo Olympics coming up, Brooker said the online meet was the best way to get them motivated.

“This Covid-19 situation has affected sport. We can only do as much but we needed to minimise the process losses, ” he said.

“The only way was to compete online to make sure our standards remain high.

“I did a lot of research through the Internet.

“There have been lots of failures and embarrassment doing it online but we know the solution to some of the problems.

“It’s a challenge as we need to run at the same time with countries having different time zone but it’s amazing what technology can do.

“I am proud to say we will be the first to get this going, ” he added.

MS secretary Mae Chen said no entry fees were charged to the participating countries and the only requirement was to set up their Internet connectivity system and cameras.

“On our side, we had to spend RM24,000 just to upgrade the Internet system to 300mbps.

“We are negotiating with the Bukit Jalil Stadium Board on the fees and hopefully the Youth and Sports Minister (Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican) can help us as it is for the glory of the country as our divers are going to the Olympics.

“Milo have also dressed up the area around the pool with banners to make it feel like a competition environment, ” she said.

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