THANKFUL: Family given permanent residence and he promises more quality diversNATIONAL diving coach Yang Zhuliang (pic) and his family have been awarded permanent residence (PR) status in Malaysia.
"This is really a pleasant surprise for my family and I. My wife and daughter are as happy as I am," said Zhuliang yesterday.
"We enjoy living in Malaysia and it is wonderful to know we can reside here for a very long time."
Zhuliang, along with his wife and daughter, received their PR cards in August.
Regarded as one of the best diving coaches in the world, the China-born has been instrumental in guiding Malaysian divers to success at several world class competitions.
Zhuliang's most memorable achievement was leading Pandelela Rinong to an Olympic bronze medal in the women's 10-metre platform in London las year.
The divers continued with their impressive performance in this year's World Championships in Barcelona and the World Series.
Pandelela finished fourth in the platform individual in Barcelona but made amends with a bronze in the synchro with Leong Mun Yee.
The 20-year-old also finished second overall in the platform in the World Series, thanks to Zhuliang's coaching methods.
Zhuliang said the government's decision was a "surprise".
"I was not expecting to get it so quickly. It will now be easier for me to travel abroad with my divers for competitions without having to apply for a visa.
"As a sign of goodwill, my target now is to ensure Malaysia win more titles. But to do that, we need a bigger pool of divers and hopefully we can get the numbers soon. I am working on a programme to produce more quality divers," said Zhuliang, who is contracted with the National Sports Council (NSC) on a two-plus-two deal.
Meanwhile, the Myanmar Sea Games-bound 11-member (five men and six women) squad's training stint in Dali, China has not been confirmed. Zhuliang had requested for a two-month stint but the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) and the NSC have not finalised the trip.
"We really need this trip as we are taking several new faces for the Sea Games in December.
"I had initially requested a two-month stint but it is too late for that. We can only train in China for one month.
"Our youngsters need the stint to win titles in Myanmar. Of course it is also part of the programme for next year's Commonwealth Games and Asian Games," Zhuliang added.
ASUM, which is using the Sea Games as a platform to expose its junior divers, has picked 16-year-old Loh Zhiayi and 14-year-old Nur Dhabitah Sabri to complement its squad.
Zhiayi, a silver medallist at last month's Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, is a rising platform diver while Nur Dhabitah bagged several titles at last year's Southeast Asian meet in Singapore.
Others in the women's squad are Pandelela, Mun Yee, Cheong Jun Hoong and Wendy Ng.
The men's squad will comprise only five divers -- Ooi Tze Liang, Muhd Amsyar Azman, Chew Yi Wei, Danial Sabri and Muhd Nazreen Abdullah -- following the retirements of Yeoh Ken Nee, Bryan Nickson Lomas and Huang Qiang.