PETALING JAYA: The Tokyo Olympic plans have gone off the rails for swimmer Welson Sim and former world diving champion Cheong Jun Hoong.
The duo were forced to call off their special training stints and return to Malaysia because of the worsening Covid-19 situation.
Welson and Jun Hoong have returned home and are now under quarantine for two weeks at the National Sports Council (NSC) complex in Bukit Jalil.
The government’s movement control order (MCO) issued on Wednesday requires all citizens travelling home to serve a mandatory quarantine for two weeks.
Welson had been training in Melbourne at the Vicentre Swimming Club since the start of the year. The club’s coach Craig Jackson is also coaching reigning Olympic 400m freestyle champion Mack Horton.
The 22-year-old, who was looking to regain his form after a disappointing SEA Games outing in Philippines in December where he failed to retain his 200m and 400m freestyle titles, was caught off guard by the decision to recall him.
“I was not expecting myself to leave Melbourne so soon but the NSC have ordered all athletes training overseas to come back because of the coronavirus outbreak in many countries.
“I was shocked initially and felt very reluctant to leave in a sudden as this decision will affect my preparations for Olympics.
“I am supposed to continue my training back in the country and it is a decision I have to accept.
“Whether the Olympics will be postponed is still not a certainty but before they make any final decision, our training should not be affected,” said Welson on his Instagram feed.Welson will surely be hoping the situation improves in two months’ time as the Olympic qualifying period for swimming is by the end of June. The Malaysian Open swimming meet in Bukit Jalil next month was to to be an Olympic qualifying meet but has been postponed indefinitely.
The 29-year-old Jun Hoong also faces a similar quandary as a question mark now lies on whether the FINA Diving World Cup in Tokyo will go on as scheduled.
The World Cup meet serves as the last Tokyo Olympic qualifier and Jun Hoong was hoping to win one of the 18 spots at stake in the individual event.
Jun Hoong was given the nod to compete in the women’s 10m platform individual event alongside Nur Dhabitah Sabri last week.
Jun Hoong, who bagged silver in the 10m platform synchro at the Rio Olympics in 2016 with Pandelela Rinong, has been training under former national coach Yang Zhuliang in China since November.
The training stint is funded by NSC to get the 2017 world champion diver to qualify for Olympics although she has not taken part in any competition for almost two years because of knee injuries.
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