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DIVING: Contenders till the end

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TIME TO REPAY: Malaysia’s adopted son Huang Qiang (and Bryan) intend to do country proud

  IT will be an emotional return to the Olympics for naturalised Malaysian Huang Qiang in London.

Huang Qiang, a former Asian Games silver medallist, was a strong contender at the 2000 Sydney edition when representing China with Tian Liang in the 10m platform synchro but a back injury squashed his hopes.

"It was the saddest moment of my life. I was all pumped up and had travelled to Sydney with my team. However, I suffered an injury and my Olympic dreams were dashed," said Huang Qiang, 31.

"Qualifying for the London Olympics with Bryan (Nickson Lomas) was the happiest day of my life. I want to return with a medal.

"It feels good to return to the Olympics after 12 years but unlike in Sydney, I want to compete this time. I thank everyone for making this a reality. I want to repay the Malaysian government for granting me citizenship."

Huang Qiang will compete in the men's 3m springboard individual and synchro with Lomas in London.

Lomas-Huang Qiang, who won Malaysia's first ever bronze at the World Cup in London five months ago, are among the medal contenders in the eight-pair syncho discipline.

"The two-month training stint in Dali and Guangzhou has helped us improve our synchronisation. Lomas and I have never failed to win a medal since pairing up for the first time at the World Cup and we hope to maintain our track record in London," Huang Qiang added.

Lomas-Huang Qiang, the World No 7, continued their impressive performance from the World Cup by winning gold in the United States and Canada legs of the Diving Grand Prix Circuit.

In London, however, China's world champions Qin Kai-Luo Yutong, Russia's IIya Zakharov-Evgeny Kuznetsov and Mexico's Julian Sanchez-Yahel Castillo are among the favourites while Britain's Chris Mears-Nick Robinson-Baker could upset the form book.

"We are not changing our routines due to time constraint. Our combination, however, has improved so much.

"China are beatable but the British pair could surprise as they have home ground advantage. We must focus solely on our routines during the event if we hope for a good result," Huang Qiang added.

l Page 1 pic: National sailor Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy training for the laser event in London yesterday.

Huang Qiang (right) and Bryan Nickson Lomas are among the medal contenders in the eight-pair syncho discipline.


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