PETALING JAYA: National diver Yeoh Ken Nee will start on a higher degree of difficulty in his bid to secure an early spot in the 2008 Beijing Olympics from the World Championships which begins in Melbourne on Monday.
The 23-year-old will compete in the individual 3m springboard and will also partner Rossharisham Roslan for the synchronised event.
Ken Nee is aiming to become the first Malaysian diver to make the top 12 final in the springboard event which will give him automatic qualification for the Olympics.
“I have been training under the new Chinese coach (Huang Qiang) since he joined us in Kunming last month,” said Ken Nee, who won the silver in both the Commonwealth and Asian Games last year.
“The training is a lot better than previously. Technically, I have also improved. For the world championships, I am going on a higher degree of difficulty compared to what I did for the Commonwealth Games and Asiad.
“The other top divers will also be raising their degree of difficulty and I have no choice but to follow suit.”
Ken Nee left for Melbourne with six other divers last night. The other male divers in the team are Byran Nickson Lomas and Khairul Mansur Safwan. The women divers are Leong Mun Yee, Elizabeth Jimie and Cheong Jun Hoong.
Ken Nee is very comfortable with Huang Qiang. They have been friends even before the two-time World Cup champion quit the Chinese team to turn to coaching.
Ken Nee added that the stint in Kunming was beneficial to the divers because they got to train not only with the Yunnan divers but also the Mexican national team.
“I hope to qualify early for the Olympics. It will give me more time to perfect my techniques,” he said.
“But it is not going to be easy because they have reduced the qualifying spots from the world championships. Previously, the semi-finalists (the top 18 divers) qualify.”
If Ken Nee fails to finish among the top 12, he will have to wait until the World Cup in Beijing next year to get a chance to qualify. Then, he has to finish among the top 18.
At the last world championships in Montreal two years ago, Ken Nee finished 37th in the individual 3m springboard. In the synchronised event with Rossharisham, they ended up in 14th spot.