Malaysian diving team safe in China, will continue training

Leong Mun Yee and team-mates Pandelela Rinong, Wendy Ng Yan Yee, Kimberly Bong and Enrique Harold are training in Chengdu, while Cheong Jun Hoong is in Qinhuangdao. (Reuters pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s national diving squad currently undergoing training in China are well and are taking precautionary measures amid the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak.

The squad, comprising Leong Mun Yee, Pandelela Rinong, Wendy Ng Yan Yee, Kimberly Bong and Enrique Harold, are training at the Sichuan Gymnasium in Chengdu. The 2017 world champion, Cheong Jun Hoong, is training separately with former national coach Yang Zhuliang in Qinhuangdao.

They are on intensive training for the World Cup from April 21-26 in Tokyo, Japan before those who have qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games compete there from July 24 to Aug 9.

Senior diver Mun Yee said that the training centre was closed to outsiders as a precautionary measure against the deadly virus.

“Those of us who are inside are not allowed to go out. Every time we leave the room, we wear face masks and check our body temperature. For now, everything is okay,” she said when contacted by Bernama.

Mun Yee, a silver medallist at the 2019 World Championships, said the national camp was always in contact with the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia and the National Sports Council on current developments.

Sichuan and Qinhuangdao are more than 1,000km from Wuhan, where the outbreak began.

NSC director-general Ahmad Shapawi Ismail confirmed that only the diving squad were currently training in China, adding that they would not be recalled home.

However, a decision has not been made on whether they would continue training in China after returning home between Feb 2 and March 14 to renew their visas, all with different expiry dates.

“We are continuing their training programme as they have to focus on refining their diving techniques that require dryland harness and pool training.

“We will evaluate the situation after they have returned home before deciding what’s next. The Youth and Sports Ministry also contacted Wisma Putra for travel advice while the Malaysian embassy and consulates in China have been informed of their presence in China.

“All the diving athletes have been informed of the compliance with procedures issued by Wisma Putra to Malaysians in China,” he said.

He said Pandelela and Mun Yee will be back to renew their visas on Feb 2, followed by Wendy, Kimberly and Enrique on Feb 13, while Jun Hoong would return on March 14.

Xinhua News Agency reported 2,744 cases of coronavirus-related pneumonia have been confirmed with 80 deaths as of Sunday.

The Health Ministry has also confirmed that there are four cases in Malaysia so far, that is the four Chinese nationals who came via Johor from Singapore.