Will Nur Dhabitah smile again after her ‘diving father’ leaves?

KUALA LUMPUR: Sad, shocked and speechless.

That summed up national women’s diver Nur Dhabitah Sabri’s (pic)emotions after it was announced that her coach Christian Brooker is set to leave the diving camp soon.

Describing the Australian coach as akin to her “own father” in diving, the 22-year-old said Brooker’s departure was indeed a big loss as he was the one who made her fall in love with diving once more after she had endured such a torrid time previously.

This, Dhabitah said, was due to the fact that she almost gave up diving more than a year ago.

It was Brooker’s “never say die” spirit that made her pick herself up and start again.

“Because of him, I started to love diving again. I almost gave up and felt that diving was useless, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic hit worldwide,” she said.

“It was really tense to train under the sports bubble concept and the fact that I had to part ways with my family for a while made me feel more sad. But I was glad to have Brooker around as he always encouraged me and boosted my spirit to participate in Japan.”

The Kuala Lumpur-born athlete said she would definitely miss the 40-year-old coach as he was easy to communicate with, and she felt at ease sharing her problems with him, be it professional or personal issues.

Not only that, Dhabitah, who had been under the tutelage of Brooker since 2018, admitted that she never had a dull moment with him and appreciated the way he infused more joy and fun into their training sessions.

“He was very supportive, he was not rough towards us - what’s more he doesn’t say mean words during training. He always gave me and other divers the freedom and was easy to discuss things with on any changes that we feel better suit us as the divers.

“I like the way he handled the setback in the Tokyo Olympics recently; he never holds grudges and still offers positive feedback regardless of the outcome,” she added.

Despite missing out on winning a medal for the country in her second Olympics in Japan, Dhabitah stole the hearts of Malaysians with her commendable performance and radiant smile to finish fourth at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre last month. — Bernama

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