National Diving Team Lacks Strong Replacements - Sports Analyst

10/02/2024 07:10 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 10 (Bernama) -- The failure of the national diving squad to increase the number of divers for the 2024 Paris Olympics through the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, indicates the lack of 'strong' replacements for the sport, according to sports analyst Mohd Sadek Mustafa.

He said this closely relates to the strategic mistakes of the Malaysia Swimming Federation (MS) in failing to ensure the continuity of the national diving squad's success in 2012, when they won a silver medal at the London Olympics through Datuk Pandelela Rinong.

"We can see the failure of the swimming association to plan a programme after the 2012 Olympics when Pandelela won a medal. If we had produced replacements then, the younger ones would have been the divers competing now, resulting from a 12-year plan. They would have matured and competed in world championships.

"The ones competing now should have been the new generation, and the generation of Datuk Pandelela would no longer be there. That's what European, Chinese, and South American national teams did; all those competing are from the new generation, and that's why we didn't succeed," he said when contacted by Bernama today.

He said Pandelela should have retired and become a coach to nurture a 'Second Pandelela' by discovering new talents. 

According to Mohd Sadek, the Road to Gold (RTG) committee should also consider Bertrand Rhodict Lises besides focusing on young divers to shine more on the international stage, as he has qualified for the Paris Olympics which starts this July.

"When Pandelela and Nur Dhabitah Sabri didn't qualify (for the Paris Olympics), there is no justification for them to be in the RTG programme. They themselves need to realise this and withdraw from the RTG, thus giving Bertrand a chance," he said.

Bertrand, 18, is the only individual representing the national diving squad at the 2024 Olympics through the men's 10-metre platform event, while prominent names like Pandelela and Nur Dhabitah failed to qualify.

Pandelela didn't pass the qualifications for the individual 10m platform and synchronised events (paired with Nur Dhabitah), while Nur Dhabitah didn't perform well in the synchronised 3m springboard (paired with Pandelela), 3m individual springboard, all at the ongoing World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Meanwhile, Mohd Sadek also suggested that MS should implement a programme to scout for new talents nationwide, similar to the "Mencari Ramli Programme" held to discover new talents for football.

"We don't have a talent pool under 18 years old, so that's what we need to find, scour the entire country for talent. We need to be serious about it, and it should be done by the association; it will take at least 10 years before we see results," he said.