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KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 -- There is an old saying: "Out of adversity comes opportunity.”
And that's exactly how national diver Chew Yiwei views his situation as he prepares to compete in the Diving World Cup, to be held in Tokyo from May 1-6, amidst a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Japan.
The Diving World Cup is the last qualifying event for divers to earn a spot in the Tokyo Olympics in July.
The 25-year-old’s hopes of an Olympic debut in the men's 3-metre (m) springboard will hinge on him securing a top-four finish in the synchronised event and top-18 in the individual event at the World Cup, which had been rescheduled from April 18-23.
The Selangor-born and other national divers managed to get their visa for the Tokyo meet despite the rising number of daily cases in Tokyo, with the Japanese government said to be preparing to reintroduce a state of emergency in Tokyo and Osaka.
“It's always been my dream to qualify for the Olympics. Even though it is getting tougher for me, especially with the challenges posed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I will try and do my best to qualify.
“I’m worried that I may not able to perform to the best of my ability, but I’'m always ready, mentally. I think I've prepared the best I can for the last eight months… it’s now up to me to perform at the World Cup,” he told Bernama.
Having last competed at the 2019 Philippines SEA Games, apart from virtual and internal competitions, the two-time Asian Games bronze medallist expects competition in the new norm during the pandemic to bring its own set of challenges.
“Among the new challenges right now include (compliance of) the SOP (standard operating procedures)... how are we going to cope (with the pressure) and relax as we cannot go out. Another concern is how are we going to get medical support and have our ice baths.
“So, these are the new challenges which not even the most experienced divers have ever experienced before. Although we have senior divers like me with a wealth of experience, it will still be a new experience for us too in a (big) competition like this,” said Yiwei, who will partner Mohd Syafiq Puteh in the synchronised event.