Dubai: Chinese competitors are usually the favourites to win major international diving competitions, but the young guns on the Malaysian team heading to the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Sports Complex next week will be looking to make their mark at the ninth Asian Swimming Championships.
It’s likely to be a tough task without the services of Olympic bronze medallist Pandelela Rinong, who is out with an ankle injury, and former world junior champion Bryan Nickson Lomas, who is completing university exams. But this will give the emerging talent on the Malaysian team a chance to step up and prove themselves.
Their team for the November 15 to 25 event includes the likes of Cheong Jun Hoong, who reached the final of the women’s synchronized three-metre platform event at the London Olympic Games and claimed bronze at the 2010 Asian Games, as well as Asian Games silver medallist Yan Yee Ng. Hoong and Ng also claimed gold and silver respectively in the three-metre springboard event at last year’s South East Asian Games.
The team’s head coach, Yang Zhuliang, said: I hope we can get one medal but it will be tough without our best divers. China are sending their top team as they want to make sure they get all the gold medals. Japan, South Korea and North Korea will also have their Olympic divers there to fight for the lesser medals.”
Dr Ahmad Al Sharif, Dubai Sports Council’s Secretary-General and Chairman of the Organising Committee, said: “It’s just a few days now until the action gets underway and I’m sure that the battle for diving gold is likely to provide one of the highlights of the competition.”
UAE Swimming Federation President Ahmad Al Falasi added: “We are looking forward to welcoming the Malaysian team to Dubai. They have a number of up and coming divers in the team and it will be fantastic to see what they can achieve here in the coming 11 days.”