SEA Games/aquatics: Pour money into diving
IF there is one sport that Malaysia needs to spend more money on, it is diving.
While judging may still be a problem in the sport, the quality of Malaysia’s divers cannot be questioned and the fact that they are winning medals even at the Asian Games shows the emphasis that has been placed on the sport since the 1998 Commonwealth Games has been worth it.
The National Sports Council deserves praise for this and the seven-gold haul in the Sea Games is its reward.
But we shouldn’t just stop here for having conquered South East Asia, Malaysia must start looking at higher stages.
In Asia, and the world for that matter, China set the standard but just like in badminton, the divers must not give up.
China’s army of divers is awesome but as badminton’s Wong Mew Choo showed en route to winning the China Open last month, they can be beaten.
Malaysia’s lack of sporting success at the higher stages has been attributed to our smaller build but diving isn’t a physical sport.
Training in China has, obviously, played a part in the progress of the national divers but the NSC and Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia must now look elsewhere as well if the divers are to progress further.
They should be sent for regular competitions in Europe, the United States and Canada for there are top quality divers there as well.
While Yeoh Ken Nee may be a veteran, the likes of Bryan Nikson Lomas, Rossharisham Roslan, Elizabeth Jimie, Leong Mun Yee, Cheong Jun Hoong, Pandelela Rinong and Ahmad Fakhri Khairuddin are still young and they must be given the opportunity to realise their potential.
The same goes for swimming.
The retirement of Alex Lim, and before that Elvin Chia, Anthony Ang and Allen Ong, was said would result in the end of swimming.
That, to a certain extent, is true as the only male swimmer who has shown promise is Daniel Bego but the pleasing aspect of the Sea Games was the emergence of the likes of female swimmers Chui Lai Kwan, Khoo Cai Lin and Lew Yih Wey.
While Siow Yi Ting looks to have reached her peak, the other three are just starting and they should be given more opportunities.