Diver Ooi Tze Liang faces an uphill task in qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.
Tze Liang, who featured in the 2016 Rio edition, has been struggling since the departure of former national coach Yang Zhuliang.
The China-born coach’s contract was not renewed by the National Sports Council in December 2017 due to disciplinary issues in camp.
The 27-year-old Tze Liang suffered a miserable start to the season after failing to make it past the preliminary stages of the German Grand Prix in Rostock last weekend.
Tze Liang, a double gold medallist at the Philippines Sea Games, only managed a woeful 33rd place finish with a score of 269.05 points over six dives in the men’s 3m springboard event.
Only the top 12 advanced to the semi-finals with Britain’s Anthony Harding taking the win on 401.50.
And this does not augur well for Tze Liang as the German meet is likely to be his only event before the crucial World Cup in Tokyo on April 21-26.
The World Cup will offer 18 Olympic qualifying spots in individual events.
Tze Liang, the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, needs to make it into the semi-finals to qualify for his second straight Olympic Games.
But he can forget about his Olympic dream if he shows up with another miserable performance just like in Rostock.
And the pressure is building as none of the Malaysian male divers have qualified for the Olympics.
Chew Yiwei is the other male diver hoping to qualify for Tokyo.
National coach Christian Brooker, however, remains optimistic that the male divers will join their female counterparts at the Olympics.
“The goal is to get at least one representative each in the springboard and platform individual events.
“It is possible as countries who already have maximum berths will not be taking up the quota spots, so this frees up additional slots for others at the World Cup,” said Brooker.
Olympic-bound Wendy Ng fared much better in Germany in the women’s 3m springboard after finishing sixth in the preliminaries with 265.75 points.
Wendy, however, missed the cut for the final after finishing sixth in her semi-final with a score of 239.40.
Newcomer Enrique MacCartney Harold finished 28th in the men’s 10m platform individual event with 263.95 points.
Those who have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics are Wendy, Pandelela Rinong, Leong Mun Yee and Nur Dhabitah Sabri.