Diving: New head coach Li Peng hopes to inspire Singapore divers

Li Peng once served as a mentor to reigning 10m platform world champion Tom Daley.
Li Peng once served as a mentor to reigning 10m platform world champion Tom Daley.

Singapore aquatics now has another world-class coach in the fold, with the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) announcing yesterday the appointment of Li Peng as the new national diving head coach.

The 52-year-old Chinese comes into the job with some impressive credentials.

He was China's national champion in 1985 in the men's platform and also won the 1984 Austrian Grand Prix in the springboard.

From 2001 to 2005, he was part of the coaching team for the Chinese women's national team, working with the likes of Li Na, the 2000 Olympic gold medallist in the women's synchronised platform and Xu Mian, the 2001 world champion in the women's platform.

He then moved to Britain in 2007 to join the country's national set-up and serve as a mentor for its youngsters, including reigning 10m platform world champion Tom Daley, who at the age of 13 became the youngest European diving champion a year later in 2008.

Said Li: "I would like to thank SSA for the opportunity to be the national head coach for diving. Singapore diving has made immense strides in the last few years and is currently the second-best country in South-east Asia.

"I hope that I will be able to inspire the divers to further improve themselves, to make their mark on the world stage and aim for Olympic qualification."

Li's appointment means that Singapore's swimmers (under national head coach Stephan Widmer) and divers are now guided by head coaches who have groomed Olympic champions.

He takes over from Australian Shannon Roy, who stepped down after two years following the just-concluded Commonwealth Games.

"We are delighted to be able to have someone of Li Peng's calibre on board. The success of the world-class divers he has trained speaks volumes of his capability as a coach," said SSA vice-president (diving) William Lee.

Li's first task will be to lead the team to the upcoming Fina Diving World Cup in Wuhan, China, in June, followed by the Asian Games in Indonesia in August.

"I hope to sharpen my dives by improving my technique through his coaching," said national diver Timothy Lee, 23. "This would allow me to finish my dives more effortlessly. Cleaning up on the entries and better form in the air will allow us to score better too."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2018, with the headline 'New head coach Li hopes to inspire S'pore divers'. Print Edition | Subscribe