No festive joy or respite as divers continue tough training regimen


Tokyo-bound: Wendy has booked her place for the Olympics in Japan.

PETALING JAYA: The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc to those celebrating the Chinese New Year, and it is worse for national athletes, especially those under the Road to Tokyo programme.

They are currently cooped up in Bukit Jalil and they have to forfeit their personal freedom to undergo the quarantine special camp.

It is what divers Pandelela Rinong and Wendy Ng are currently going through and it is not their first time.

In June last year, they had the first quarantine special camp where they were allowed to train under the conditional movement control order (CMCO).

The athletes and coaches were allowed to continue with their daily training but they are under strict orders not to leave the Bukit Jalil camp since the movement control order (MCO) was brought back on Jan 13.

For Pandelela, it has been a daily grind going through the second time of living in the bubble environment.

Pandelela did not get the chance to return to her hometown in Bau, a town near Kuching in Sarawak, to spend Christmas with her family because travelling between east and west Malaysia was suspended due to the spike in Covid-19 cases.

The two-time Olympic medal winning diver is now hoping quarantine training will end when MCO is no longer extended.

“It’s understandable at first and we have been very accommodating. But now even the pasar malam is allowed to open, so I think there’s no need to continue this camp any further once MCO is over as we athletes also have other commitments to attend to.

“The only thing that’s making me stressed out is that I cannot go home because of the quarantine training.

“I think most of the athletes quarantined here felt the same way, ” said Pandelela.

For Wendy, she is resigned to having to go through another year of not spending Chinese New Year with her family.

“It’s something we have to accept as every athlete here also cannot go home.

“I was in China for a training camp around this time last year and also had to stay indoors after training because the country was experiencing the Covid-19 outbreak at that time.

“I guess it’s okay for me this time because competition is around the corner.

“Luckily, my parents are very understanding, ” said the Rio Olympic 3m springboard finalist diver.

Pandelela and Wendy have booked their places for the Tokyo Olympics (July 23 to Aug 8) but will be competing in the Diving World Cup in Tokyo from April 18-23.

The World Cup meet will be the final Olympic qualifier for diving.

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