MS hope to seal extra Olympic spots at World Cup

Ready for action: Cheong Jun Hoong (left) and Pandelela Rinong will be competing in the Diving World Cup in Japan.

PETALING JAYA: It’s all systems go for the Malaysian team as they look forward to sealing more Olympic Games tickets at the Diving World Cup in Japan, amidst the rise in new Covid-19 cases in Tokyo.

The divers and coaches were at the Japanese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur yesterday to collect their entry visa required to participate in their first tournament in more than a year at the World Cup from May 1-6. The meet has been postponed twice because of the Covid-19 pandemic before FINA, the governing body for aquatics, managed to fix the new slot.

Many national sports federations have faced difficulties in getting the entry visas previously and this was one of the issues that led to FINA having to reschedule the meet from April to May.

The meet at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre will be the final qualifier for diving for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which takes place in July.

Japan has also introduced a strict rule to only allow foreigners, who have tested negative for Covid-19 in 72 hours.

Malaysia Swimming (MS) secretary Mae Chen said it had been a tedious process to get the entry visas sorted out because of the uncertainties.

“The flight tickets had to be rescheduled because of the first postponement but now we have our entry visas to Japan, ” said Mae.

“We will fly out to Japan this Monday. The requirement is for the divers to be there a week after they have cleared the health checks to go into a bubble environment where they will only travel between the venue and the hotel.

“We have already registered the team on the global security app since April 13 as it’s compulsory for health tracing for FINA events, ” she said,

The team delegation is not under quarantine but there is a strict policy in place for them to remain in the bubble at all times.

A pre-competition test is also compulsory before the start of the competition. That’s an additional test after the one they had taken in Tokyo upon the arrival.

“Wish us luck and hope everything goes well over there. We will take part in all eight events (four individual and four synchro), ” said Mae.

“We hope to get additional Olympics slots in the women’s competition and hopefully, our male divers will bring back good news also, ” she added.

The woman divers going for the World Cup are Pandelela Rinong, Leong Mun Yee, Nur Dhabitah Sabri, Wendy Ng Yan Yee and Cheong Jun Hoong. Pandelela, Mun Yee, Dhabitah and Wendy have booked their Olympics tickets.

Completing the 10 member team are Ooi Tze Liang, Chew Yiwei, Mohd Syafiq Puteh, Hanis Nazirul Jaya Surya and Jellson Jabillin.

At the last Diving World Cup in Wuhan in 2018, Pandelela contributed a bronze medal for Malaysia in the women’s 10m platform individual.

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