KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — Having won countless medals in various competitions or multi-sports games before, national men’s diving ace Ooi Tze Liang admitted that it would be difficult for his teammates to emulate his outstanding feats.
Tze Liang, whose highest achievement was winning gold in the men’s 3m springboard at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, has thrown down the gauntlet to his compatriots to step up in a bid to create bigger splashes in the pool.
“I think they must work harder, more so if they want to take my place. They have to win first,” he told reporters after taking home gold in the men’s 3m springboard at the 58th Malaysia Invitational Age Group (MIAG) Diving Championships, earlier today.
The two-time Asian Games silver medallist also said that he always puts in more than 100 per cent effort every time he participates in any competition.
This is due to the fact that he always felt indebted to repay the faith of the National Sports Council, who have given him the contract and allowances all this while.
As the 29-year-old diver will not be joining the 2023 SEA Games squad, Ooi hoped that both Muhammad Syafiq Puteh and Gabriel Gilbert Daim will go all out so as to maintain their gold and silver medals respectively in the men’s 3m springboard event at the biennial games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, next month.
The Penang-born athlete said he will give full attention to his next assignment, the World Aquatics Diving World Cup 2023 to be held in Montreal, Canada from May 5 until May 7.
Last January, national assistant coach Datuk Leong Mun Yee announced that the elite divers have been left out of the 2023 SEA Games so as to give exposure to the young divers at the international level.
Earlier, Ooi oozed class as he amassed 452.35 points to emerge as champion followed by another national diver Chew Yi Wei, who took silver with 407.10 points while Muhammad Syafiq had to settle for bronze with 402.70 points.
Despite being unable to overcome Ooi in the men’s 3m springboard, Chew still managed to take home gold for the national team, this time in the men’s synchronised 3m springboard with Gabriel after collecting 341.49 points.
Singapore’s duo, Ayden Ng – Kenji Tan claimed the silver medal with 258.45 points while Awang Sharzan Nasrin – Soh Tze Kang of Sarawak secured the bronze with 251.22 points.
The three-day meeting ends tomorrow (April 3).