PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian divers received a massive blow to their Olympic hopes when FINA, the world governing body for aquatics, called off the Diving World Cup scheduled in Tokyo in two weeks’ time.
Apparently, the event from April 18-23 had to be scrapped as the hosts wanted to impose an additional quarantine upon arrival for officials while athletes are exempted.
The fate of the World Cup now hangs in the balance as FINA now have to find a new host fast.
The meet was to be the last Olympic qualifying event for diving. Initially, it was to be held last year but was postponed due to Covid-19.
Malaysia Swimming (MS) secretary Mae Chen said it was an unfortunate turn of events.
“It is disappointing news because in less than 24 hours after receiving assurance from Japan that we are guaranteed of an entry visa for the World Cup, FINA cancelled it.
“I believe Japan added some last-minute conditions to FINA to which they did not agree, ” said Mae.
“It’s quite a mess as we have already submitted our application for Japan and we’ll have to do it all over again if the venue is changed.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed that it can still take place since it’s the last Olympic qualifying event and our divers need the competition.”
If the World Cup does not take place, it will be hard to decide on the Olympic slots as there were no competitions last year.
FINA might decide based on the 2019 performance at the World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.
Pandelela Rinong, Leong Mun Yee, Wendy Ng and Nur Dhabitah Sabri have already earned their places for the Tokyo Games.