[UPDATED] Pandelela, Dhabitah out of RTG

KUALA LUMPUR: Divers Pandelela Rinong and Nur Dhabitah Sabri were axed from the elite Road to Gold (RTG) programme today.

The only Malaysian diver selected for the RTG programme is Bertrand Rhodict Lises as he has qualified for the Paris Olympics.

The RTG committee announced their decision after a meeting jointly chaired by Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh and Olympic Council of Malaysia president Tan Sri Norza Zakaria.

Pandelela and Dhabitah failed to qualify for the Paris Olympics due to poor performance at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha earlier this month.

RTG coordinator Datuk Stuart Ramalingam said the committee came to the decision because Pandelela and Dhabitah failed to make the cut for the Paris Games.

He added that the committee will introduce the Fast Track programme to prepare athletes for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Squash players S. Sivasangari, Ng Eain Yow, sisters Aira and Aifa Azman, as well as diver Enrique Maccartney Harold, have been listed under the Fast Track programme.

"The meeting discussed a few things, including the operation and expenditure of the RTG programme for 2023 and 2024 as well as the support service for the RTG athletes," said Stuart.

"Pandelela and Nur Dhabitah are dropped from the programme as they didn't meet the criteria of the programme.

"The RTG will monitor their progress and work closely with the athletes and Malaysia Swimming to ensure Pandelela and Dhabitah get the support to rediscover their form and be in consideration to be included in programme in the future.

"Bertrand is included in the RTG to give him immediate support for the Paris Olympics. He's also a prospect for the LA Olympics. He'll be given the support for training overseas and support services."

The Fast Track programme is for athletes between the ages of 16 and 25 with the potential to win gold at the 2028 Olympics.

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