Diving: Malaysia coach and former world champion Huang Qiang accused of raping Olympic hopeful

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - A Malaysian national diving coach will go on trial for allegedly raping a diver who was training for the next Olympics, a lawyer for the athlete and reports said on Thursday (Oct 12).

Huang Qiang is accused of raping the 20-year-old at a gym at the national aquatics centre in Kuala Lumpur last month.

The 35-year-old pleaded not guilty to the charge when he appeared in court in the capital on Wednesday, Cheow Wee, a lawyer for the alleged victim, told AFP.

The father of two, who was born in China but now has Malaysian citizenship, faces up to 20 years in jail and caning if found guilty.

"She's traumatised but she's coping," Cheow said of the female athlete, who cannot be named for legal reasons. "The relevant organisations and associations are giving her full support - family and friends as well."

Local media reported that the diver was training with the Malaysian squad for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Diving is one of Malaysia's strongest sports.

In 2016, Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong claimed the country's first Olympic diving silver medal in the synchronised 10m platform.

The country also swept all 13 diving gold medals at the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in August.

Huang enjoyed considerable success during his own diving career - he was a gold medallist at the 2000 Diving World Cup in Sydney and took part in the 2012 London Olympics.

The judge allowed the defendant bail, with a bond of 50,000 ringgit (S$16,060) and subject to several conditions including surrendering his passport.

The next hearing was set for Nov 6.