Teen diver Enrique’s world platform on hold after exclusion from World Cup

PETALING JAYA: It will be a longer wait for young diver Enrique Maccartney Harold (pic) to get the chance to feature in his first major assignment with the national team.

Malaysia Swimming (MS) have to exclude the 16-year-old Enrique from next month’s Diving World Cup meet in Tokyo because of the requirement from the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) for mandatory stay-in at the premises for all students sitting for the SPM examinations in the current Covid-19 situation.

The Diving World Cup meet is scheduled to take place from April 18-23 in Tokyo and will be the last Olympics qualifying event for diving.

BJSS is located in the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex where the national athletes in the Road to Tokyo programme are already undergoing quarantine-based training for the last two months.

Enrique is an up-and-coming diver from Sarawak who aspires to follow in the footsteps of Bryan Nickson Lomas, who was Malaysia’s first-ever world junior champion diver and competed in two Olympics (Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008).

“We earmarked Enrique for the Diving World Cup campaign and he went for his first overseas training stint in China with the national team early last year before the Covid-19 pandemic started, ” said MS secretary Mae Chen.

“We were supposed to enter Enrique for the 10m individual platform but then he has not been training for two months because of the BJSS rules.

“So he is not in a position to compete using the new dives he had trained for, ” said Mae, who is hopeful there will not be a last-minute postponement.

“It’s hard to plan for things now. The Diving World Cup has been postponed once and we can only hope it can go on as scheduled.

“We are also in the process of finalising the SOPs with the National Sports Council as well as Youth and Sports Ministry on the arrangements to send the team to the Diving World Cup meet.”

Five men and five women divers will form Malaysia’s challenge for the biennial meet.

The male divers are Ooi Tze Liang, Chew Yiwei, Mohd Syafiq Puteh, Jellson Jabillin and Gabriel Gilbert Daim.

Veteran diver Leong Mun Yee will lead the women’s team, who also comprise Pandelela Rinong, Wendy Ng Yan Yee, Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Cheong Jun Hoong.

The Diving World Cup meet will award Olympics spots for the top 18 divers in the individual event and top four pairs in the synchro.

Malaysia have yet to qualify for the men’s events although four women divers - Wendy, Pandelela, Dhabitah and Mun Yee - are already on board for Tokyo.

Pandelela partnered Mun Yee to qualify for the women’s 10m platform synchro after winning silver in the World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, in 2019. Pandelela also qualified for the 10m platform individual.

Wendy and Dhabitah filled up the maximum two quota slots for Malaysia in the women’s 3m springboard individual.

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