Hopes of competing in World Series take a nosedive

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian divers’ hopes of competing in the Diving World Series before the Tokyo Olympics have hit a snag.

There are fears that the four-legged series, scheduled to start next month, may be scrapped if China decides to maintain its policy of not allowing any international sporting events to be held in their country due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Uncertain: Wendy Ng is one of the divers MS plan to send for the World Series.Uncertain: Wendy Ng is one of the divers MS plan to send for the World Series.

China has reported more than 100 new Covid-19 cases for a seventh day on Wednesday and tens of millions of people are now under lockdown.

It is supposed to host the first two legs of the series in Zhuhai (Feb 26-28) and Xian (March 5-7). The other two stops are in Kazan, Russia (March 19-21) and Montreal, Canada (March 26-28).

The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted last year’s series with only Montreal hosting the competition while the events in Shanghai, Kazan and London were called off.

Special clearance is needed from the Youth and Sports Ministry and also the Malaysian Immigration for our national athletes to leave the country for an international event. Malaysia Swimming (MS) secretary Mae Chen said it was uncertain whether the prestigious series will actually take place this year.

“China has decided not to have any international events after the Covid-19 outbreak started and I am not sure if they have already lifted it.

“We can only wait for further instructions from FINA (world aquatics governing body).

“The Diving World Series is not an Olympics qualifying event and it is probably going to be hard to find any cities willing to take over if China decides not to go ahead.

“As it is, it is not easy hosting events because of the strict safety and health protocols in place, ” said Mae, who is hoping to send Olympians Pandelela Rinong, Leong Mun Yee and Wendy Ng Yan Yee for the meet.

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