SEA GAMES: Pandelela will compete in just 10m platform as coach wants juniors to gain exposureOLYMPIC bronze medallist Pandelela Rinong will lead Malaysia's 12-member diving squad for December's Sea Games in Myanmar.
Pandelela, however, will only defend her gold medal in the women's 10m platform as coach Yang Zhuliang wants the juniors to compete in other events to gain exposure.
Zhuliang has also named Ooi Tze Liang, Leong Mun Yee, Wendy Ng and Cheong Jun Hoong for the biennial Games.
Malaysia, ranked second to Olympic champions China in Asia, won seven of eight gold medals in the 2011 Palembang Sea Games.
Zhuliang made an about-turn regarding his Sea Games selection as the coach had initially wanted only juniors.
"I am sending my best team because our newly-promoted elite divers are not yet on par. They are not quite ready to achieve the Sea Games target," said Zhuliang recently.
"As one of the best teams in Asia, we need to make an impact in the Sea Games. I want a clean sweep this time."
Chew Yiwei, Muhd Amsyar Ahmad, Mohd Danial Sabri, Mohd Nazreen Abdullah, Loh Zhiayi, Nur Dhabitah Sabri, Adeline Chin, Jasmine Lai and Kam Ling Kar are among the juniors being considered for the Sea Games.
"Our juniors have potential and I am grooming them towards qualification for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
"They have shown progress but are still lacking in some aspects. The Sea Games will be a perfect avenue for them to gauge their form," said Zhuliang.
Malaysia should dominate the women's events in Myanmar but could face difficulties in defending three of four gold in the men's section following the retirements of three-time Olympian Bryan Nickson Lomas, Yeoh Ken Nee and Huang Qiang.
Zhuliang, however, cannot select a big squad for the Sea Games as each nation is only allowed 12 divers -- six men and six women.
With Pandelela, Wendy, Jun Hoong and Mun Yee in the fray, the juniors will fight for the remaining two spots in the women's team at the Asian Cup, scheduled for Sept 13-15, in Singapore.
Zhuliang will not face an issue in naming his men's team as he has only five divers.
Read more: DIVING: Only a limited role - Other - New Straits Times