‘Allowing gymnasts to transition to diving is one way to boost, sustain talent pool’

Former national diving coach Christian Brooker had proposed 10 action plans to unearth and sustain diving talents in Malaysia.

The Australian, in his paper ‘Sustaining Success for Malaysian Diving’, said the 10 proposed methods were outlines of ideas. He added the implementation would require “further consideration and significant collaboration with key stakeholders to determine the best ways to implement them into the Malaysian diving programme”.

Brooker returned to Australia recently after his contract ended in September. He had been in the country for four years.

His paper, compiled during his early days in Malaysia, was handed to Malaysia Swimming, the National Sports Institute and the National Sports Council.

“Our internal decision-making processes require us to be quick and decisive, using the best and most diverse information and perspectives as possible,” Brooker documented in his paper which was sighted by Twentytwo13 recently.

“Coaches and junior managers need to be given more autonomy in decision-making to speed up this process, but also held to account when these decisions are retrospectively ineffective.”

He added if Malaysia wanted to have continued success on the world stage, there must be a competitive advantage.

“We need to not only catch up to what the rest of the world is doing, but we need our quality and processes to be better and unique.

“We have already had successes in the past, but we cannot rest on our laurels. Sports and sport processes and strategies evolve and improve as we progress into the future.

“We cannot expect something that worked 10 years ago to work now, moving forward.”

Brooker’s proposed methods in his 25-page paper included:

  • learn to dive programme at the national training centre.
  • in-house talent identification
  • external talent identification
  • linking with gymnastics
  • collaborative approach with feeder coaches
  • scholarship coach
  • athlete development framework
  • dedicated diving high performance manager
  • implement selection policy
  • create local diving Grand Prix

In explaining one of the proposed methods, Brooker said gymnasts should be given a chance to switch to diving.

“I have no doubt there are gymnasts in the local programmes in Malaysia that the coaches know of, who would not make it in gymnastics.

“Rather than closing the door on these athletes, let them transition to diving.

“France successfully implemented a gymnastics transfer programme, where most of the national (diving) team comprised former gymnasts who started diving in their late teens.”

He added Australia had a similar set-up where many of their medallists were ex-gymnasts.

He said a gymnast, who had the potential of becoming a diver, should be given a one-year trial period. If the gymnast does not show progress, he or she could return to gymnastics.

Brooker, 40, was initially hired to assist Chinese coach Zhang Yukun following the departure of head coach Yang Zhuliang in 2017.

Brooker played a bigger role after Zhang’s departure and trained the likes of national divers Nur Dhabitah Sabri, Wendy Ng, Chew Yiwei, and Ooi Tze Liang.

The male divers failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, while the women returned empty-handed.