PETALING JAYA: Sarawakian Eilisha Rania and Kuala Lumpur’s Ong Ker Ying are moving up to the big league next year.
The two divers will be promoted to the elite team based in Bukit Jalil and placed under newly hired Chinese coach Zhu Shanming.
Shanming, who is back in Malaysia after a 13-year hiatus, will also handle two male divers Jellson Jabillin and Gabriel Gilbert Daim.
Australia’s Christian Brooker and another Chinese coach Li Rui are currently handling the seniors.
Platform diver Eilisha hopes to live up to expectations as the next young talent from Sarawak.
“This year has been very quiet because there are no competitions. If things get back to normal next year, I hope to be selected for the SEA Games in Vietnam, ” said Eilisha, who joined the Sarawak state diving programme when she was still studying at SMK Tabuan Jaya in Kuching.
It is also the same school where two-time Olympic medallist diver Pandelela Rinong comes from and not surprisingly, Eilisha looks up to her more illustrious teammate.
Eilisha, who partnered Kimberly Bong to claim a Sukma gold medal in the platform synchro two years ago in Ipoh, recalled that she used to admire the seniors when they were training at the State Aquatics Centre in Petrajaya a few years back.
She was still a beginner then, learning to dive in the adjacent children’s pool.
And never in her wildest dreams that she expects to land a spot in the national team.
Ker Ying is also hoping to make her debut at the SEA Games.
She came into the spotlight when she bagged gold in the 3m springboard synchro with Loh Zhiayi at the Asian Diving Cup in Kuala Lumpur last year.
She also won a gold in the 1m springboard individual at the championship.
“I hope to improve my dives once I resume full training after finishing my exams and hopefully get selected for more competitions, ” said the 18-year-old.
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