PETALING JAYA: Former world champion platform diver Cheong Jun Hoong will have to watch next month’s Tokyo Olympics action on the television.
Aquatics governing body FINA informed Malaysia Swimming yesterday that Jun Hoong and Mohd Syafiq Puteh did not make the cut for the Olympics.
Jun Hoong was a silver medallist when she went for her second Olympics outing in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 when she partnered Pandelela Rinong in the women’s 10m platform synchro.
She dived in her first competition in nearly three years at the Diving World Cup in Tokyo in May and reached the semi-finals where she was placed 18th overall.
However, a third straight Olym-pics appearance proved out of reach ultimately as FINA decided to restrict the automatic qualifiers to only the top 12.
Malaysia Swimming secretary Mae Chen said Pandelela will be the only Malaysian competing in the women’s 10m platform individual.
Besides Pandelela, the three other woman divers confirmed for Tokyo are Leong Mun Yee, Wendy Ng Yan Yee and Nur Dhabitah Sabri.
“FINA have concluded the tabulation on the final quota diving slots to 68 men and 68 women for the Olympics (total of 136).
“We were notified that both Jun Hoong and Syafiq did not make the cut.
“For the women’s 10m platform, only the top 15 from the recent World Cup qualified for the Olympics in the end.
“It is disappointing. If only Jun Hoong reached the final (top 12) at the World Cup, she would have qualified.
“We were hopeful with the absence of some strong competitors from top diving nations at the recent World Cup, both Pandelela and Jun Hoong will stand a good chance to be on the podium.
“Unfortunately, she fared badly in the semi-finals and failed to qualify for the final, which would have assured her a place in the Olympics.
“A lot of support has been provided for her from the National Sports Council, National Sports Institute and Malaysia Swimming for her to qualify for the Olympics.
“Her dedicated coach (Yang Zhuliang) had even vouched that Jun Hoong, who emerged world champion in 2017, will be ready for the Olympics.
“However, despite the Olympics being delayed by one year, she was still not ready, ” she said.
It will also be the first time that Malaysia will have no representation in the men’s competition after Syafiq was ruled out.
Syafiq had been hoping to get in through the re-allocation of quota slots after finishing 23rd in the men’s 3m springboard individual at the World Cup meet.