KUALA LUMPUR: Diver Leong Mun Yee won four gold medals at the KL Games in 2001. Perish any thoughts of a repeat feat in Vietnam.
Even Mun Yee, who will turn 19 on Dec 7, concedes that four gold will be a tall order. Still, she aims to try. After all, four golds in her fourth SEA Games would be a great statistic to go with her birthday celebrations.
At the 2001 Games, the Malaysian divers made a clean sweep of all the eight gold medals at stake.
And Mun Yee said: It will be nice to win four gold medals again and then I can have a birthday celebration in Hanoi. I realise that the burden to get the gold medals in Hanoi rests with Nor Aznizal Najib and me. Still, I expect the younger divers to provide some surprises as well, she said yesterday.
Mun Yee and Aznizal are the only divers in the squad who have taken part in the SEA Games before. The others in the squad are Zibeon Uzza, Bryan Nickson, James Sandayuk, Gracie Junita, Khairul Safwan and Cheong Jun Hoong.
The biggest challenge for the Malaysian divers will come from the Philippines and hosts Vietnam.
The Busan Asian Games last year showed that the divers from the Philippines have caught up with the Malaysians.
In the 2001 SEA Games, Mun Yee defeated Filipina Shiela Perez to take the gold medal.
But the tables were turned last year at the Busan Games where Perez was placed fourth and the Malaysian finished fifth.
Mun Yee, who has just returned from a six-week training stint in Shantou, China, was honest enough to admit that she would face a tough time trying to win the gold medal in Hanoi.
Winning four gold medals in the SEA Games in 2001 was great. But I feel that in the KL Games I had the element of surprise, as many of the other divers did not expect me to do well. Now the pressure is on me and I have to make sure that I do not take the others for granted.
Home ground advantage is always a factor in these Games and I'm sure that the Vietnam divers will be out to prove their worth this time around.
I understand the Vietnamese divers also went on a training stint to China. You can be sure they would have improved on their techniques as well. I have not seen them in action in recent months. It will be foolish to take anything for granted, she added.
Mun Yee, however, is hell-bent on winning at least two gold medals in the 3m and 10m platform. She has been working hard at perfecting the 405B dive, which comprises a two and a half somersault pike.
It's a dive that Mun Yee has not used in competitions.
I have never used it in competition. Hopefully it will work out to my advantage. One thing that I can be sure of is that I will do my utmost to win the gold in the events that I take part in.
At this stage that is the only promise I can make, she said.