Rare diversion for divers: time out at home

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 February, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 February, 2005, 12:00am

Two of the mainland's top Olympic divers have been allowed to spend the Lunar New Year with their families, an infrequent treat for the country's leading athletes.

Guo Jingjing, 23, the double Olympic gold medallist at Athens last year, returned to her home town of Baoding, in Hebei province, to see her parents and relatives, Xinhua reported.

'It is quite unusual that we have been given three days' leave, which we have not had for years,' she said.

Guo said her Lunar New Year wish was to be with her parents and be a good daughter.

'I have not celebrated the traditional New Year with my parents since I joined the national squad,' she said. 'They are so happy and have prepared a lot of delicious food for me. But I cannot eat too much - as a diver, I have to watch my figure all the time.'

She said it could be her last New Year holiday before the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Fellow gold medallist Tian Liang, 25, who was kicked off the national team last month for engaging in unauthorised commercial activities, has been given a longer break from the provincial team in Shaanxi . He is said to be spending the holiday with his parents in Beijing.

Guo and Tian hit the headlines last month after being warned about their commercial activities.

Guo later issued an impassioned appeal to authorities and has been allowed to stay on the national squad.