Friday, January 14, 2011

Diving aces seek career in coaching

KUCHING: National divers Pandelela Rinong and Bryan Nickson have indicated their intention to become diving coaches one day.
Pandelela Rinong
Both medallists in the Asian Games in Guangzhou and the New Delhi Commonwealth Games last year were also among the 15 youths in the state to have received the Sarawak Youth and Sports Icon Award from the Youth and Sports Ministry on Friday.
“I’m really interested to be a diving coach one day. Most probably, I will do that after I complete my degree in sports science,” said Bryan, currently a second-year student at Universiti Malaya.
The 20 year-old from Kampung Stampin, BDC, is, however, unsure where he might be coaching (Sarawak or overseas), saying his decision will be based on the best offer that comes his way.
During the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, Bryan’s performance caused a buzz among the Chinese contingent with their coach being quoted as describing him (Bryan) as their toughest competitor in the men’s category.
“I heard the news,” Bryan said, admitting to being pleasantly surprised that the Chinese coach had tipped him as their greatest threat to the gold medal. Bryan, however, feels differently, saying Malaysia still has a long way to go before it can beat China or Russia in world diving events.
“To beat China, we have to improve fast and that requires a lot of efforts as well as an increase in the difficulty level of the dives. It’s actually not impossible,” he said of his eagerness to match the world’s diving powerhouse in the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Bryan also noted that the span between the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games last year was too close — just one month – and he admitted this had taken a toll on him.
“I was definitely tired and had not fully recovered after coming back from New Delhi.”
Bryan took home the silver medal in the men’s 3m springboard and the 10m synchronised events, partnering with Ooi Tze Liang.
In the 10m platform, he finished third behind the Chinese divers.
In the Commonwealth Games, he also took the bronze medal in the 10m platform and another bronze in the 3m synchronised event.
Bryan advises youths in the state to pursue sports seriously if they believe they have what it takes to make the grade.
“Sports is an important element in life; it facilities self-discovery and teaches discipline,” he said, adding that sports also helped to keep youths away from social ills.
Pandelela Rinong was a bit coyer after receiving the Award from the Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
“I’m happy with the Award which gives me more motivation to go far in diving,” she said.
The 17-year-old has been chosen to carry the national flag in the 2012 London Olympic Games.
“My immediate aim is to train hard for the World Series in Russia this March,” said Pandelela who aims to finish in the top three in the individual event, and the 10m synchronised event with her regular partner Leong Mun Yee from Perak.
“Presently, I’m not sure where intensive training for this championship will be conducted.”
She had trained in Kunming, China, before and also for the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games last year.
Pandelela created sporting history in Malaysia when she became the country’s first Commonwealth Games diving gold medallist in New Delhi.
She said this topped her 2010 calendar of success.
In Guangzhou, she won the silver medal in the 10m synchronised event with Mun Yee and the bronze medal in the 10m platform.
In August 2010, Pandelela bagged two silver medals in the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. She is the first Malaysian diver to win a medal in an Olympic event.
The silver medals came from the 10m platform, and the 10m synchronised event with Mun Yee at Singapore’s Tao Payoh Swimming Complex.
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