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KUALA LUMPUR: National diver Bertrand Rhodict Lises hopes he will be included in the Road to Gold (RTG) programme, to beef-up his preparations for the 2024 Paris Olympics scheduled from July 26 to Aug 11, this year.

The 18 year-old Sarawakian, the only Malaysian to have qualified for the Olympics in diving this time after several big names failed to earn their tickets, is expected to know his fate after the RTG Committee meeting, next week.

“It will be easier to get what I need if included in the RTG, so I am hoping for the best.

“If can be included into RTG it is a privilege, because I know that I am young and I can push further for few more Olympics,” he said when met by reporters after a visit by Chef-de-Mission (CDM) Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin and his deputy Datuk Nicol David to his training session here, today.

Bertrand qualified for the Paris Olympics in the men’s 10m platform event at the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, last year, but yet to be included in the RTG as he didn’t fulfill the two main criteria of being ranked top 10 in the world and had won medals in previous Olympics.

However, after none of the national divers, including Datuk Pandelela Rinong and Nur Dhabitah Sabri, made the cut to Paris during the recent World Aquatics Championship in Doha, Bertrand might have a strong chance to be included in the RTG to enhance his preparations.

Athletes under the RTG programme, which is aimed at winning the country’s first Olympic gold medal in the Paris Olympics or 2028 Los Angeles Olympics (LA28), are entitled for extra sports science support, competition exposure and coaching as well as additional allowance of RM3,000 a month on top of the allowance in the Podium Programme.

Bertrand said he is expected to leave for an overseas training attachment on March 14 to increase his diving difficulties and rankings to face the Olympic challenge.

“I am not sure where I am going, the options are the United States, Mexico and the United Kingdom (UK). I have requested for the UK because it will be much more convenient to travel from Paris and can train with the UK team in London,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hamidin said he would recommend to the RTG Committee for the inclusion of the diver.

“He is still young, has huge potential and can feature in few more Olympics. He is the future for Malaysia so we must take care of him, but he needs to improvise his 12th ranking into top 10,” he said.

Hamidin also admitted that, everyone needs to accept the fact that, the Malaysian contingent’s size to Paris Olympics will be smaller than previous editions.

The priority according to him, should be to encourage athletes who had qualified and likely to qualify like cyclist Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang, Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom as well as men’s doubles shuttlers Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik to chase for Olympic medals.

On Pandelela and Nur Dhabitah, he said both the divers would be aiming to pursue their dreams for the LA28.-Bernama

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