KUALA LUMPUR: Top diver Bryan Nickson Lomas can expect many newcomers to threaten his status in the national team from next year.
The Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) will be giving more emphasis on diving, which has been identified as one of the sports with the potential to win a medal at 2012 London Olympics. And more juniors will get high-level exposure.
Currently, the 18-year-old Bryan is the more prominent diver in the national team and the gap in standard between him and the others in the team is wide.
The Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia secretary, Edwin Chong, said that new faces emerge at every new cycle of the Olympic Games.
And he was optimistic that there would be new stars to keep Bryan company as Asum continue to strengthen their diving programme.
“We hope for Bryan to still be with us at the next Olympics. But at the same time, we will be out to groom more quality divers for the country,” said Edwin.
“Diving is a sport that we can try to win a medal at the Olympics but we have to put in a lot of hard work. We are confident that more talented divers will emerge.”
Bryan became the first Malaysian gold medallist at the world junior championships in 2004 when he won the boy’s Group B 3m springboard event. At the next edition in 2006, he took bronze in the Group A 10m platform competition.
Bryan has a wealth of experience, having competed in the last two Olympic Games in Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008). In Athens, he came close to making the semi-finals in 19th place.
Edwin said that Asum were happy with the overall performances of their divers and swimmers this year.
“Overall, it has been a good year for us. We had the most number of qualifiers (nine) at the Beijing Games. We will try to increase the number of qualifiers for the next Games,” he said.
“We have maintained the current set of swimmers in the national team and among their major assignments next year are the world championships.”
For the record, besides Bryan, the others divers who competed in the Beijing Olympics were Pandelela Rinong, Elizabeth Jimie and Leong Mun Yee. The swimmers in the team were Daniel Bego, Leung Chii Lin, Siow Yi Ting, Khoo Cai Lin and Lew Yih Wey.