PETALING JAYA: The Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) want to bring in former United States national coach Chris Martin to take charge of the Malaysian swimming team.
But it will only materialise if the National Sports Council (NSC) give the go-ahead to rope in Martin.
The American coach, who has also served as the national development coach for Britain and Scotland, is on the top list of four candidates presented to the NSC for consideration.
The national swimming programme at Bukit Jalil is now without a head coach following the departure of Australian Paul Birmingham.
Birmingham has been coaching in Malaysia for more than a decade but left after the Indonesia Asian Games in August and his assistant Jeffrey Ho has been taking care of the swimmers for the last two months.
A total of 26 applications were received after Asum advertised the vacancy on the American Swimming Coaches Association and the world swimming body (FINA) websites.
Martin has been involved in international swimming for over 30 years but it remains to be seen if NSC, who will be the one paying the salary, are agreeable to it in view of the budget cuts facing sports at the moment.
Asum secretary Mae Chen said they will present the shortlisted names to the NSC for consideration.
“He has vast experience and will fit in our plans but let the NSC decide for us. I think it will come down to whether the NSC agree to negotiate the terms of his salary.
“Hopefully, we can have a new coach by the start of next year,” said Mae.
An even leaner budget is expected next year with the bulk of spending going to the preparation of athletes aiming to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Diving has been a medal contributor for the last two Olympics but even they have not been spared as Asum are skipping the last two legs of the FINA Diving Grand Prix in Gold Coast this weekend and Singapore next week.
Ooi Tze Liang claimed two golds in the Malaysia leg in Bukit Jalil last week – in the men’s 3m springboard individual and synchro with Muhd Syafiq Puteh.