KUALA LUMPUR – National diver and former world champion Cheong Jun Hoong (picture) has ended more than two decades of involvement in the sport since 1999 when she officially announced her retirement today.
Jun Hoong, who will turn 32 in April, said that despite suffering from injuries and inconsistent performances in recent years, she remained committed to continuing to represent the country.
However, she has had to accept the fact that her contract was not renewed by the National Sports Council (NSC) and Malaysia Swimming (MS) recently, thus forcing her to call it a day.
In her retirement announcement on her Instagram account, the Ipoh-born expressed her appreciation and gratitude to everyone who had supported her during her diving career.
“I would like to express my appreciation to the NSC, Youth and Sports Ministry and Olympic Council of Malaysia for their support throughout the years, without which I would not be where I am today.
“I must also express my heartfelt gratitude to the National Sports Institute (NSI) for their support in many ways, including medical assistance rendered to me by the doctors, rehabilitation (team), physiotherapists, psychological counsellors and all the other staff,” she said.
When contacted by Bernama today, Jun Hoong said she has yet to decide on her next move, despite having received a coaching offer in Perak from the NSC.
“The NSC did ask what I wanted to do and what degree I hold. They offered to help me I wanted it. Then, they asked if I want to go back to Perak and become a coach there. But I said that I don’t want to do that yet.
“For now, I still don’t have any plans because this (the resignation) came quite suddenly and I was busy focusing on myself doing rehabilitation and undergoing treatment,” she said.
Jun Hoong made history when she became the country’s first and, so far, only diver to win the world title in the 10m individual platform at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Prior to that, she bagged Malaysia’s first Olympic silver in diving with Pandelela Rinong in the women’s 10m synchronised platform event.
However, a second knee surgery in September 2018, coupled with recurring injuries, resulted in Jun Hoong struggling to perform consistently.
“Actually, I never dreamt of becoming a world champion… never thought I could actually beat the China divers… all my hard work paid off. I must admit that my biggest regret is not being able to perform consistently in competitions despite my best efforts,” she said.