KUALA LUMPUR: All eyes will be on the national women's elite divers when they compete for honours in the opening leg of the World Series in Beijing, which starts on Friday, under a new coaching set up.
Malaysia achieved a lot under former head coach Yang Zhuliang but the China-born's contract was not extended late last year for allowing an environment of fear to perpetuate in the national team.
Zhang Yukun, who was Zhuliang's assistant, is now the acting head coach while Australian Christian Brooker is his assistant.
While the Beijing leg will serve as an early test for the divers ahead of next month's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the event will also be an indicator whether the athletes are still good enough for medals without Zhuliang.
Excuses will not be accepted especially from Yukun, Brooker and the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) should the divers fail to perform this season as the team were progressing accordingly with medals to show in every major event under Zhuliang.
On the opening day in Beijing, Pandelela Rinong-Cheong Jun Hoong, the silver medallists at the 2016 Rio Olympics, will resume their partnership in the women's 10m platform synchro discipline.
The pair, who also won bronze at last year's World Championships in Budapest, will go against China’s Zhang Jiaqi-Zhang Minjie, Australia’s Taneka Kovchenko-Melissa Wu, Canada’s Meaghan Benfeito-Caeli McKay and North Korea’s Kim Kuk Hyang-Kim Mi Rae for medals.
Jun Hoong will also compete in Sunday's 10m platform individual event for the first time since winning the world title last year together with 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist Pandelela.
However, Pandelela may not be at her best for the world series as she is down with cough and sore throat.
"Feeling under the weather today. Dear followers, what's the best cure for cough and sore throat other than drinking water?," Pandelela posted on her Facebook page.
Nur Dhabitah Sabri will compete in the 3m springboard individual event as well as the 3m springboard synchro, which is also on Friday, with veteran diver Leong Mun Yee.
The world series comprise the top eight finishers from the Rio Olympics for the respective events.
The other world series stops are in Fuji, Japan (March 15-17), Montreal, Canada (April 27-29) and Kazan, Russia (May 4-6).
Malaysia bagged two silvers and one bronze in the Series last year.