Thursday, May 22, 2014

Asum banking on women divers to deliver at CWG

Pandelela Rinong (right) and Loh Zhiayi will both be heading for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July. - filepic
Pandelela Rinong (right) and Loh Zhiayi will both be heading for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July. - filepic

PETALING JAYA: The lack of depth in the national men’s diving squad is worrying indeed. But the same can’t be said of the women’s squad.

The Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) are convinced that the women’s squad, led by London Olympics bronze medallist Pandelela Rinong, have enough quality to mount a strong challenge – particularly at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July.

There are 10 women divers in the team – Pandelela, Leong Mun Yee, Cheong Jun Hoong, Wendy Ng Yan Yee, Traisy Vivien Tukiet, Nur Dhabitah Sabri, Loh Zhiayi, Adeline Chin, Kam Ling Kar and Jasmine Lai.

And Asum even had the luxury of trimming their Commonwealth Games squad to just seven – leaving out Ling Kar, Jasmine and Adeline.

But the men’s team had no choice but to rely on the depleted squad of three members – Ooi Tze Liang, Ahmad Amsyar Azman and Chew Yiwei – for the two major assignments, including the Incheon Asian Games.

The men’s team are in such a predicament after SEA Games gold medallist Muhd Nazreen Abdullah and Muhd Danial Sabri suffered from elbow problems and ear infection respectively.

Despite the shortcomings, Asum are still looking at bettering the one gold-one silver-two bronze haul from the previous edition in New Delhi.

Ten gold medals will be up for grabs in Glasgow and Malaysia are seen as one of the major contenders alongside Canada, Australia and hosts Britain.

The Commonwealth Games are unique in that a participating nation can field a maximum of three divers for individual events and two pairs for synchro events.

Pandelela will be tasked with defending her 10m platform individual title and she also has genuine chances in the 3m springboard (with Jun Hoong) and 10m platform (with Mun Yee) synchro events.

“As the men’s team have been severely depleted, we will need our women to rise to the occasion,” said Asum honorary secretary Edwin Chong.

“We have quite a decent depth in the women’s squad, thanks to the emergence of several good back-up divers.

“We can now rely on the likes of Dhabitah and Zhiayi. Although they’ll be making their Games debut, they will be playing important roles.

“They will provide good options in forming the second combinations and they are also strong enough to spring some surprises.

“We can have Wendy-Dhabitah as the second pair in the springboard synchro, while Dhabitah could either pair up with Traisy or Zhiayi to compete with Pandelela-Mun Yee in the platform synchro.”

by Tan Ming Wai - The Star

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