KUALA LUMPUR: The national divers who were caught drinking alcohol and partying have made a public apology for their inappropriate behaviour that has tarnished the reputation of the sport.
They were seen in a few video clips that were taken during a training camp in Guangzhou, China, but which surfaced on social media a few days ago.
Three divers from the elite-only Podium Programme (Pandelela Rinong, Chew Yiwei and Nur Dhabitah Sabri) and four from the Kita Juara programme (Jellson Jabillin, Gabriel Gilbert Daim, Kimberly Bong and Traisy Vivien Tukiet) were identified consuming alcohol and partying.
Yiwei, who acted as the spokesman, said they decided to come together as one to express their heartfelt apologies and promised that this will not happen again.
“We agreed that everyone will be together as a team rather than an individual to face the media and the public today.
“I guess some of our media friends have seen the videos and we admit that we did not behave appropriately.
“The videos involving us were filmed during the eve of the Chinese New Year where we had a dinner hosted by the accommodation manager in China.
“Since we did not get the chance to spend the Chinese New Year back home, we were happy to be able to enjoy a three-day break with people whom we regard as our second family.
“Our coaches were unaware of the videos as the incident took place behind closed doors in a private area.
“We did consume some beer, which were taken from the dinner. There was also the usual silly bantering and dancing that we normally do during our breaks.
“We have learnt from our mistakes and we took full responsibility for our wrongdoings and misbehaviour.
“This incident will not happen again in the future. In our private lives, we recognise that the word ‘sorry’ is meaningless without a change in our behaviour.
“We have given our promise to Asum (the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia), ISN (National Sports Institute, NSC (National Sports Council), our coaches, Podium Programme and Kita Juara programme that we will be more responsible to the juniors and exercise more caution in our training days.
“We are carrying the image of our country. We regret that this happened and we are sad that the incident has tarnished the reputation of diving.
“We humbly seek the kind understanding of our supporters and public not to judge us based on this isolated incident.
“The diving team has been training hard relentlessly and we have shown our great determination to deliver results in every competition.
“We love our sport and we are determined to do what it takes to get the public to trust us again, especially at the Indonesian Asian Games in August,” he said.
Pandelela said they are prepared to face whatever punishment recommended by the Asum-NSC-NSI disciplinary committee later.
“As young adults, we are still learning how to be a better person every day. I guess to say sorry is the biggest sign of humility,” she said.
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