PETALING JAYA: Diver Leong Mun Yee is set to create a record unlikely to be surpassed by other Malaysians at the SEA Games.
Mun Yee, who will turn 29 on Dec 4, will be making her ninth straight SEA Games appearance in Myanmar next month. Mun Yee currently shares the record of eight appearances with karate exponent P. Arivalagan.
Mun Yee was barely 13 when she was picked to join the national training programme in 1997. That same year she made her SEA Games debut in Jakarta where she was placed fifth in the 3m springboard event.
It proved to be good exposure for her. In Brunei two years later, Mun Yee bagged two silvers in the platform and springboard events.
“I finished behind team-mate Farah Begum Abdullah in the 3m springboard but I was very happy. Another team-mate Yeoh Ken Nee also took the men’s 3m springboard gold. It was the first time diving contributed gold medals at the SEA Games level and we have not looked back since then,” recalled Mun Yee.
Mun Yee finally made the breakthrough when Malaysia hosted the 2001 Games. She won four golds for her best achievement in a single Games.
She then went on to win one in 2003 (Hanoi), two each in 2005 (Manila), 2007 (Korat) and 2009 (Vientiane) and one in 2011 (Palembang). She now has a total of 12 golds, making her the most successful Malaysian diver at SEA Games level.
With age catching up, Mun Yee has scaled down her events. She only competed in one discipline at the last Games in Indonesia two years ago.
“I only took part in the 10m platform synchro with Traisy Vivien Tukiet. It is now all about guiding the younger ones at the SEA Games,” said Mun Yee.
In Maynmar, Mun Yee will again play the mentor role. She will combine with youngster Nur Dhabitah Sabri to defend the 10m platform synchro title for Malaysia.
Dhabitah will be Mun Yee’s seventh different partner at the SEA Games level dating back to Kuala Lumpur in 2001 when the synchro disciplines were introduced for the first time.
“My objective has changed compared to my earlier SEA Games appearances, but the end result is still the same – to bring glory to the country.
“I have never missed the SEA Games since I made my debut in 1997. The interest is still there, otherwise it will be hard for me to go through the training.
“Previously, it was establishing ourselves at the Games and the expectations were not high as we were not known as a diving power.
“But now it’s different. We are expected to deliver gold medals. I have always given my best, regardless of who I am partnered with,” said Mun Yee, who is now attending a one-month training stint with the national team in Guangzhou.
by Lim Teik Huat The Star