KUALA LAMPUR: Former national coach Yang Zhuliang and his successor Christian Brooker are now bitter enemies.
And tension is expected to rise during the ‘special’ trial at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil (date yet to be set) after former world champion Cheong Jun Hoong returns with Zhuliang here on March 21.
The relationship between Zhuliang and Brooker became strained after the Australian expressed his unhappiness over Jun Hoong training under the China-born coach instead of with the other national divers.
A face-off between the two coaches at Bukit Jalil is expected as the National Sports Council (NSC) has said Jun Hoong and Zhuling will not be quarantined upon arrival as their training base in the Guangzhou province is not among the Covid-19 list red-flagged by the Health Ministry.
The Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) has set the trial to pick two 10m platform women divers for the Tokyo World Cup on April 21-26, which serves as an Olympic qualifier.
Jun Hoong will contest with two-time Olympic medallist Pandelela Rinong and Nur Dhabitah Sabri for the two tickets to the Tokyo Olympics.
The 30-year-old Jun Hoong, who has been in China since October, is currently training under Zhuliang in Dongguan, Guangzhou.
“Registration for the World Cup is on March 27, and the trial will be held before that.
“I will be coming down to KL with Jun Hoong for the trial. I am not too worried about whether the judging will be biased,” said Zhuliang yesterday.
On Jun Hoong’s form, Zhuliang said: “She is training well… better than before.
“The only thing she needs to address is her ability in executing difficult routines.
“Her technique is much better than before and I believe she can improve further.
“Despite her advanced age (Jun Hoong is 29), she looks promising and is learning new dives,” he said.
NSC director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said Jun Hoong and Zhuliang will not be quarantined unless they fail the screening test for Covid-19 upon arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
“Only those from Wuhan, Zhejiang and Jiangshu are immediately quarantined upon arrival.
“However, if Jun Hoong and Zhuliang both fail the screening test, then they will be quarantined as well,” said Shapawi.