Olympic champ hoping to still be standing tall at Beijing Games

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 November, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 November, 2002, 12:00am

Olympic diving champion Tian Liang says he hopes he will still be fit and well in six years' time to perform before a 'home crowd' at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Tian, who passed through the SAR to promote a range of health products, said his participation in the Beijing Olympics would hinge on whether or not he will still be competitive at 29.

'I am now 23 and I will be 29 when the Beijing Olympics comes around. It's hard to say whether I will be fit when the time comes, but I certainly hope I will still be competitive at that time because it's the one Olympics I don't want to miss,' said Sydney gold medallist Tian.

'Diving requires a lot of discipline and technique, I hope I will still be healthy [to dive] in six years' time. Right now, I am concentrating on the Athens Olympics and I hope to retain my 10-metre platform title.'

Tian, whose friendly personality and marketable face have helped him launch all kinds of products on the mainland, said he had a busy schedule net year, beginning with the World Cup in Australia, the first leg of the grand prix.

'I will compete in the first leg of the World Cup beginning in February and I will also compete in a series of national Olympic trials later in the year. I intend to concentrate on platform and I have no plans to compete in springboard,' he said.

Asked whether he was a role model in the Chinese national team, Tian replied: 'There are a lot of young Chinese divers coming up and I am trying to teach the younger ones. They have the technique and the skills to be good divers, but they lack a bit of confidence.

'I can understand what the younger divers go through because I started diving when I was seven years' old. I was already training in Szechuan on the provincial team after two years of training and I was a competitive diver at 11.'

Apart from his Sydney Olympic success, Tian is also the 2002 Asian Games gold medallist and a five-time All-China National Games champion. Tian is also busy with his studies and is currently a third-year student at the Xian University, where he is studying economic management.

Tian accepted the appointment as spokesperson for Nutrilite in Greater China, saying that he understood the science of nutrition being an athlete himself. 'I have been an athlete for many years and I understand the amount of energy needed by athletes. Food consumption alone is not sufficient for replenishment and we need nutritional supplements,' he said.