Despite various challenges, Jun Hoong remains focused

IPOH: Even though the Olympic slot arrived at the last minute, national diver Cheong Jun Hoong is undisturbed by various requirements such as passing multiple COVID-19 tests and other travel requirements to prepare for her quest to bring the honors to the nation.

She said the various challenges actually bolstered her determination to stay mentally strong and focused in the final stages of training before leaving on July 25 with a mission to do her best at the Tokyo Olympics.

“I am now doing two training sessions a day, each session lasting four to five hours at the National Sports Council (MSN) in Bukit Jalil six days a week.

“I have to be focused because there isn’t much time left. I have to mentally prepare because I was just told about two weeks ago that I qualified (for the Tokyo Olympics).

“Nonetheless, I’m going to do my best and prioritize my health because COVID-19 is still pretty bad,” the 31-year-old diver from Perak said when contacted by Bernama.

Yesterday, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, announced that the Malaysian contingent at the Tokyo Olympics aims to win three medals, including one gold in three events, track cycling, badminton and aquatic diving.

Jun Hoong said the support and prayers of family members in Ipoh helped motivate her for the event which begins on August 4.

In the 2021 Diving World Cup, Jun Hoong finished the semi-finals of the women’s 10-meter (m) individual platform event in last place, but confirmed a berth in the Olympics as she was part of the group of 18 top divers in the tournament to fill the slot in Tokyo.

However, on June 23, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) ruled that Jun Hoong was not eligible for Tokyo due to changes in the eligibility rules that saw only 12 quotas allocated for the Olympic Games in 2020 against 18 athletes previously.

Jun Hoong, then competing in the FINA Diving World Cup in Tokyo, only finished the semi-finals of the women’s 10m individual platform event in 18th (last) position, not seeing her therefore not qualify for the Olympics.

FINA and the International Olympic Council (IOC) subsequently repealed the rule and re-authorized a quota of the top 18 divers at the Olympics.

At the Olympics this time, the national diving team also included Pandalela Rinong, Leong Mun Yee, Wendy Ng, Nur Dhabitah Sabri who confirmed their places earlier. – BERNAMA

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