Thursday January 17, 2013
Yang wants junior divers to fight for places and medals in Rio Games
By LIM TEIK HUAT
KUALA LUMPUR: Yang Zhuliang is a man in a hurry to produce winners.
The diving head coach wants the Malaysian juniors to step up to the plate and fight for places and medals in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
Zhuliang does not want Pandelela Rinong’s bronze medal splash at the London Olympics last year to be the last for Malaysia.
“We want to win at least one Olympic medal in Rio again. For that to happen, we cannot depend on just Pandelela alone or the other seniors.
“We need the junior divers to come up fast to meet this target. We only have three years left and we cannot afford to relax,” said Zhuliang.
There are now 16 divers in the national elite squad following the inclusion of six juniors – Mohd Danial, Mohd Nazreen, Chew Yiwei, Nur Dhabitah Sabri, Loh Zhiayi and Adeline Chin – over the last three months.
Eight divers qualified for the London Games last year, the biggest ever since Malaysia first had a representative in the sport in Sydney in 2000.
Zhuliang also stressed on the importance of grooming the juniors to be on par with the seniors.
For a start, he will throw some of the juniors into the fray at the Myanmar SEA Games this year.
“My hope is to see some of these juniors win gold medals at the SEA Games. Then, they must be able to challenge for medals at next year’s Asian Games and make the final for the World Championships or qualify for the World Series by 2015,” he said.
“If any of them can do this, qualifying for the Rio Games will not be a problem and there is every chance of them fighting for a medal.
“The training is very important. There is a lot of work involved. They have a lot to catch up on.
“These juniors are not comfortable yet learning the difficult routines. Platform divers like Zhiayi, Nazreen and Danial must get ready to train for the difficult routines at the 10m level.
“They have been comfortable diving at the 5m or 7m level in their junior days but they have to step up now.”
The diving team, subject to approval from the National Sports Council, will head to Dali in China next month for a two-month training stint.
Seven divers – Kam Ling Kar, Jasmine Lai Pui Yee, Ooi Tze Liang, Yiwei, Zhiayi, Danial and Nazreen – left for Sydney on Sunday for the Australian Olympic Youth Festival (AYOF). The AYOF is from Jan 16-20.