Ready to dive in again

Tough luck: Cheong Jun Hoong finished 26th out of 30 divers in the women’s 10m individual platform at the Tokyo Olympics. Below: Yang Zhuliang. — AFP

PETALING JAYA: National diving coach Yang Zhuliang will return to Australia end of this month but he will not sever his ties with former world champion Cheong Jun Hoong.

Zhuliang, who is an Australian permanent resident, is open to working again with Jun Hoong if she remains in the training programme for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and Hangzhou Asian Games next year.

The Chinese coach’s contract with the National Sports Council (NSC) ends on Sept 30.

“I’ll return to Brisbane to sort out my Chinese visa application as I’m unable to do it here,” he said.

“Then, I will go back to China and take care of my parents in Jiangsu.

“They are already old and I have not seen them for more than a year since I have been based here when the Covid-19 pandemic started.

“If Jun Hoong wants to continue training, we can work out something. Maybe she can come to China and I will help her.

“I know her commitment and I think we can achieve some results. I’m grateful to NSC for their support so far, it’s unfortunate that I could not achieve the result that Malaysia wanted.”

Zhuliang was the head coach for Malaysia when he guided Jun Hoong to the women’s 10m individual platform world title in 2017.

He left in 2019 but returned to help Jun Hoong again for the Tokyo Olympics last year.

Jun Hoong, who had gone through knee surgeries, made it to her third Olympic Games in Tokyo but was not able to raise her game in the 10m individual platform preliminaries and finished 26th out of 30 divers.

She was the silver medallist in the event with Pandelela Rinong at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the individual bronze medallist at the 2012 London Olympics.

Meanwhile, the position of national elite coaches – China’s Li Rui and Australia’s Christian Brooker – will come under scrutiny during a joint working committee meeting between NSC and Malaysia Swimming tomorrow.

Diving failed to contribute any medals in Tokyo.

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