Wednesday February 6, 2013
Malaysia win three quota spots for FINA Diving World Series
By LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia look set to make a big splash at the FINA Diving World Series, which kicks off in Beijing next month, after winning quota spots for three out of the four synchro disciplines contested.
The prestigious World Series, which is only for the top ranked divers and offers good prize money, has been expanded to six legs in five countries this year. Besides China, the other hosts are the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Britain and Mexico.
Malaysia have received confirmation of three quota spots for the 3m springboard synchro for men and women as well as the 10m platform synchro for women.
Pandelela Rinong has already qualified for the individual 10m platform, thanks to her historic bronze medal effort at last year’s London Olympics. Pandelela, who was a runner-up in the overall standings of the World Series last year behind two-time Olympic champion Chen Ruolin of China, is expected to partner seasoned campaigner Leong Mun Yee.
Bryan Nickson Lomas partnered Huang Qiang to clinch the bronze at the World Cup in London en route to qualifying for the Olympics and were also winners at the United States and Canadian Diving Grand Prix legs. But with Bryan opting to take a break and Huang Qiang returning to his coaching job, it means Malaysia will send a new pairing to the Series.
Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia secretary Edwin Chong said Malaysia were given three additional quota slots due to the retirements of divers from the other countries after the London Olympics.
“Several pairings who were ranked above us in the world rankings quit after the Olympics and FINA (the governing body for aquatics) extended the invitations to us.
“We accepted the invitations and FINA confirmed this after the deadline ended last weekend. We qualified for the same three synchro disciplines at the Olympics and we did well in the Diving Grand Prix circuits last year. This helped us to secure ranking points.
“For the synchro events, we have the option to select the divers as the quota slot goes to the country. We should be sending five or six divers,” said Edwin.
He added that head coach Yang Zhuliang would decide on the selection of the divers for the World Series.
“The diving team will be going to Dali this weekend for a six-week training stint and this is where Zhuliang will experiment with the combinations. He will choose the best pairings from the stint. It is not necessary the seniors will be paired up as he will also look at the juniors to see if they can gel together.”