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