PETALING JAYA: Young diver Elizabeth Jimie is going places after a spectacular performance for Sarawak in the Kedah Sukma (Malaysia Games) two months ago.
The 14-year-old, who bagged four gold medals in Alor Star, has been selected to represent Malaysia for the first time in the 15th FINA Diving World Cup championships, to be held in Changsu, China, from July 19-23.
With senior divers Leong Mun Yee and Cheong Jun Hoong struggling to find their fitness after suffering injuries in training in the last two months, the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) saw it fit to give the lanky Elizabeth a place in the team.
She will be the sole Malaysian participant in the women's competition. The men's squad comprise Melbourne Commonwealth Games silver medallists Yeoh Ken Nee, Bryan Nickson, James Sandayud, Rossharisham Roslan and Khairul Safwan Mansur.
Asum secretary Edwin Chong said that national coach Zhu Shanming made the recommendation to leave out Mun Yee and Jun Hoong after evaluating their fitness condition over the last few days.
“Mun Yee has been undergoing rehabilitation after hurting her ankle in training a few weeks ago,” he said.
“Jun Hoong has been tending to a back injury for some time. The doctor has given them the go-ahead to join the national team to train in China but they will not be in competition.
“Elizabeth did very well in Sukma, leading Sarawak to a clean sweep in the girls' competition. We sent her to China to train with the senior squad because we do not have many women in the team at the moment. Since Mun Yee and Jun Hoong have been told to skip the meet, we have decided to field Elizabeth.”
The divers will continue with their training in China after the World Cup meet. Instead of tagging along, Elizabeth will now get a chance to compete with the world's best divers.
“It will be an invaluable experience for Elizabeth. She has never competed outside the country before and it will be her first international competition. We will just let her enjoy the competition and not put any pressure on her,” said Edwin, who left for China on Saturday.
Edwin is one of the diving judges for the World Cup championships.
Elizabeth certainly has added incentive to do well in the meet as it will also enhance her chances of securing a place in the World Junior Diving Championships, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur from Aug 23-27.
The World Cup will see participation from 30 countries, including diving powerhouse China and the United States.