INSPIRATION: Barbie dolls a thing of the past as Traisy seeks to fulfil dream
TRAISY Vivien Tukiet used to avidly watch China’s former world and Olympic champion Guo Jing Jing on television to learn diving techniques.
The 18-year-old hated diving at first but her perception about the sport changed when she came across a story on Jing Jing in the newspapers.
“I come from SMK Tabuan Jaya in Kuching, the same school where Pandelela (Rinong) and Bryan (Nickson Lomas) studied and learnt to dive. My parents were fans of Bryan and they wanted me to be like him.
“I did not like it at first but I couldn’t quit then because my parents wanted me to train hard and become a nationallevel diver.
“I was only seven then and all I wanted to do was to play with Barbie dolls. However, I slowly started loving the sport after reading about Jing Jing. I was determined to emulate her.” She added: “I was glued to the television to catch Jing Jing win two gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I watched her moves closely and tried them out in training.” Traisy made her first career breakthrough by earning a silver medal in the 10m platform at the 2009 Laos Sea Games.
A year later, the former Asian Junior bronze medallist represented Malaysia at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games and the Guangzhou Asian Games but returned empty-handed.
Not to be deterred, Traisy put extra effort in training and her dedication was rewarded when she won her first Sea Games gold in the 2011 edition in Indonesia, where she and veteran Leong Mun Yee claimed the 10m platform synchro title.
She dedicated her first ever Sea Games gold medal to her parents Tukiet anak Jen and Nila anak Jinggot for their undivided support.
It was at the Fina Diving World Cup in London in February where she achieved her lifetime dream by qualifying for the London Olympics.
She achieved by finishing 16th in the 10m platform individual.
“I came close to qualifying for the Olympics at the world meet last year and it motivated me to do it in this final qualifying meet. It was a perfect belated birthday gift as I had turned 18 a few days before my dive,” said Traisy.
Traisy’s joy, however, almost turned to sorrow when the poor condition of the walkway at the National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil almost ended her Olympic dream in May.
The youngster suffered a foot injury when she stepped on one of the uneven walkway curbs, which subsequently kept her out of the Diving Grand Prix legs in Canada a n d t h e United States.
Traisy feared the worst as she was told not to compete nor train until she got medical clearance and, thankfully, a test revealed that it was only a minor injury.
She, however, lost about a month of high intensity training but she has since made full recovery and is training hard in Dali, China with the other national divers. “I am lucky that my injury was not serious. I feel much better as the training in China has improved my form and fitness. It had, of course, deprived me of two competitions but I am just glad that I will be diving in London without any hiccup,” she said.
On her expectations at the Olympics, she said it will be tough as the best in the world will be competing for honours.
“It will be a good experience but I hope to push myself harder to make at least the semi-finals,” Traisy added.
• Name: Traisy Vivien Tukiet
• Date of birth: Feb 17, 1994
• Place of birth: Kuching, Sarawak
• Career achievements: 2009 Laos Sea Games — silver in 10m platform individual, Asian Age-Group Championships — bronze in 3m springboard synchro (with Kam Ling Kar), Australian Youth Olympics Festival — silver in 10m platform synchro (with Pandelela Rinong); 2011 Indonesia Sea Games — gold in 10m platform synchro (with Leong Mun Yee), Asia Pacific Rim Championships — bronze in 1m springboard
• London expectations: Semi-finals of women’s 10m platform
• Competition dates: Aug 8-9 (women’s 10m platform)