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Hui Tong, a Chinese coach who returns home to Canada | 2022 FINA World Championships

Canadians rely on good coaches. I acted like a supporter. I encouraged them and I sent my photos to the teamremembers the Chinese.

Since ending his 10-year association with Dive Calgary as head coach in 2000, Hui Tong has maintained a strong bond of friendship with Canadian Federation Technical Director Mitch Geller, who was largely responsible for his comeback. in the country.

I’m going home, he exclaims. I left Canada to lead the Australian team until 2016. I was then entrusted with the guides of the French team for the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024, but I had to give up this position for health reasons. I returned to Australia to be with my wife and my two children.

Watching the Olympics on TV made me a little sad after having experienced them so often in the role of coach or athlete. But from another angle, this break allowed me to rest and be with my loved ones. And due to COVID-19, I couldn’t go anywhere. We were always together!

Hui Tong has been living in Montreal since January 11. His spouse will join him within three weeks.

This occasion is a family affair. My daughter was born here. I know that after her studies, she would like to find a job here. My boy is starting his own in medicine. I didn’t want to leave Australia until he was older. Canada is such a beautiful country, I’m so happy to be able to come back here. For my family and my career. Here, it is cold six months a year, but the people are warm. More than the Australians who I find more energetic. I’m running out of words to describe my joy… »

A quote from Hui-Tong

Miranda’s successor

Professionally, being the successor to Arturo Miranda, who inspired a generation of Olympic medalists, is a challenge worthy of him. Canada and Australia have the same number of Olympic medals to their name (14), and many of them were also the result of Hui Tong’s efforts with his athletes.

Mitch Geller has been able to develop a good structure since my departure. The foundation is good. Canada has many training centers and the national team can recruit from many clubs. And when I accepted this offer, I knew I would have good young divers to develop.

The case of the men’s team is particularly motivating for a coach of his caliber. Nathan Zsombor-Murray (18), Cédric Fonfana (18) and Rylan Wiens (20) have already had their first Olympic experience, and their new coach believes they have immense potential and that their young age does not is not an obstacle to victory.

I don’t want to lower expectations because they are so young. They can win. It all depends on your desire to improve and become a champion. It’s not a question of age, but of attitude. It is my job to prepare them and guide them to learn about themselves. Winning is what elite sport is all aboutexplains Hui Tong.

The pressure, of course

And the pressure on your shoulders? Hui Tong was a two-time FINA World Cup champion in the 10m (1985, 1987) and finished 4th at the 1984 Olympics, before beginning his coaching career.

I know I’m under pressure. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here. I don’t want divers to feel that pressure. Again, it’s part of my job. These athletes want good leadership from their coach. I define myself as a coach enthusiastic, I like to encourage them. But I am demanding. This sport requires discipline, you have to learn the hard way, be precise in your movements and not deviate from the established direction. »

A quote from Hui-Tong

It’s not that hard if you find the right way. And it’s the coach’s responsibility to keep a positive spirit. Athletes must learn to manage their emotions well and become independent. Breaking free from that pressure to be your best when it counts. And it all starts in traininghe adds.

On the female side, Pamela Ware, Mélissa Citrini-Beaulieu and Caeli McKay are three more experienced divers.

Pamela is the oldest, at 29, and remains an elite diver, just like Caeli and Mélissa. They have a good influence on young people. I’ve been in Montreal for three months, and I like the energy that emanates from the group. We are building a new relationshipmentions Hui Tong.

The retirement of Jennifer Abel, Meaghan Benfeito and Vincent Riendeau obviously changes the dynamic in the team. It’s the end of an era.

If they wish to come and meet their ex-teammates to discuss or provide advice, we will welcome them with open arms. I don’t see any downside to it. I want to help this new generation of divers to grow, to become what we want them to become and to be true to their own ambitions. In my opinion, divers in Canada have a lot of potential and could shine more internationally. I hope that my presence will help them to climb this additional step.

The 2022 edition of the Senior National Winter Championships takes place April 8-10 in Saskatoon.

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