Beijing just the start for Elizabeth
QUALIFYING for the Beijing Olympics is a dream come true for diver Elizabeth Jimie, 16, but she shouldn’t be surprised.
After all, she showed glimpses of her potential in the 2006 Doha Asian Games when, thrown into the pool as a late replacement for Cheong Jun Hoong, she bagged two bronze medals (1m springboard individual and 3m synchronised springboard).It was a surprise simply because Elizabeth had only been identified during the 2006 Malaysia Games in Kedah.
There, she took the 1m and 3m springboard gold and then partnered fellow Beijing-bound Pandelela Rinong to win the synchronised events.
“Getting called up to the national squad was a surprise but having been given the opportunity, I was determined to make the best of it,” said the former SM Tabuan Jaya student.
She started to work hard and credits coach Huang Qiang for her Beijing appearance.
“Despite winning two medals in Doha, I knew that I had to refine my dives and Huang Qiang took the initiative to improve them.” The results were seen in last year’s World Championship when she won the Class B 1m springboard gold and followed up with the Korat Sea Games 3m springboard title.
Olympic qualification came when she finished fifth in the World Championships in Beijing.
A rapid rise for which Elizabeth paid tribute to former coach Wang Jinlan of China who guided her in Sarawak.
“I owe it to him for guiding me and many other divers,” said Elizabeth.
Now that she is just days away from the Games, Elizabeth feels a sense of accomplishment but is not satisfied.
“I have qualified for the Olympics but I don’t want it to end just like that.
“I am going to Beijing with the intention a minimum semi-final berth but even if I do it, it won’t mean I will be satisfied and walk away from the sport.
“I plan on competing for several more years and with Leong Mun Yee about to appear in her third Olympics, I don’t see any reason why I can’t do it too.”