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2003 / NO.1
2003 / NO.1
Promising Young Divers on the Platform The First Diving Team of Macao

Despite the proximity of Macao to China, well-known world power in competitive diving, this “aquatic flower” of a sport has only recently begun to bloom in Macao. With the recent rapid development of Macao’s sport culture, the drastic improvement in sports facilities, and support by the S.A.R. government, the Swimming Association of Macao was able to hold, for the first time ever, a training program for young people interested in sports diving. Held during the July-August 2003 summer vacation, this training was an important first step in the development of a competitive sport diving team in Macao.

Since its establishment, the Swimming Association of Macao has taken vigorous steps to promote sport diving and to pave the way for Macao’s diving athletes to compete in international diving competitions. The first step was to organize and offer courses for those interested. Because of its elegance, diving appeals to many young people in Macao. However, it is also a sport requiring a great deal of courage, self-discipline, and will power. Opportunities to observe and work with athletes during the July and August courses helped the association to select and invite the most promising trainees to join the diving team. At present, there are more than 20 athletes on Macao’s diving team.
In truth, Macao is not able to compare with the mainland (China) when preparing these athletes. This is because there are many differences in the training regime. On China’s mainland, these athletes are considered as professionals, expected to train 8-10-hours. In Macao, however, diving athletes are amateurs, with training restricted by access to training facilities, by the demands of their academic studies, by the potential for their parents to offer support, and so on. For our athletes, even 2-3 hours of training (usually conducted in the evening and after a full school day) can be difficult to manage.
Under the guidance of coach Ieong Neng, former member of China’s national team, athletes on Macao’s diving team have made great progress. Most notable for their progress and athletic talent are Choi Sut Kuan and Choi Sut Leng (sisters), Lei Chi Leong, and Ho Long Tin. After only a little more than one year of training, they have mastered 201 inward dives from the 3-meter board, laying a good foundation for Macao to be able to compete in sport diving. In recent training conducted on the mainland, they successful completed dives from the 10-meter platform. Younger athletes like Lei Sio I and Ho Long Seng dove from 5-meter and 7.5-meter platforms, respectively. Although somewhat fearful, they enjoyed the challenge and excitement.

The inauguration of the Macao Olympic Aquatic Center, held in March, has further encouraged the Swimming Association of Macao to concentrate training efforts on sport diving. Due to a lack of training facilities until the opening of the Aquatic Center, however, trainees have been limited to basic training in gymnastics (e.g. forward and backward rolls, handstands, hanging handstands and headstands) and diving training which can only be conducted in ordinary swimming pools. After the trainees have learned feet-first dives, backward dives and forward and backward rolling dives, they are asked to perform at various swimming pools for parents and other guests. For most of these trainees, they can only travel to mainland, China to train at authentic diving pools during vacations and holidays. Since most of their training is done in Macao using simulated diving facilities, it can be a challenge for these trainees to dive from real diving platforms. They usually begin diving from a 1-meter platform, then move to the 3-meter, 5-meter, 7.5-meter and, finally, the 10-meter platform.
At the 3rd AASF Asian Age Group Championship, hosted by Macao, our diving athletes will have the chance to participate in diving competitions. It is to their credit that, through dedicated efforts and hard work and with the valuable training provided by local and national coaches, our young diving athletes will do their best and perform well as they begin to compete as part of Macao’s sport diving team.

Written by the Swimming Association of Macao