The Dolphins are making waves in Kuala Lumpur: Australia booked the main aquatic centre in the Malaysian capital, scene of the 1998 Commonwealth Games, as its pre-Beijing holding camp - and has a right to be there. However, weighty locals have noted that the deal has locked its own national team out of the facility.
Zolkples Embong, head of Malaysia's National Sports Council, is demanding that his nation's swimmers be allowed to train alongside the likes of world record holders Grant Hackett, Libby Trickett, Leisel Jones, Jess Schipper, Eamon Sullivan and Stephanie Rice. That'll work well!
Embong has directed his staff to email Australian head coach Alan Thompson to try and resolve the problem, the New Straits Times reports today. 'They (the Australians) had signed a contract with the National Sports Complex two years ago and have made all the arrangements for the training camp in advance,' said Embong. 'I have requested the officer who is handling this matter to send an e-mail to Alan Thomson to seek permission for our swimmers to train with them, maybe occupy two or three lanes. We will do our very best to resolve this issue.'
Two or three lanes?! Perhaps someone will explain to Mr Embong the need for Thompson's charges and coaches to have full control of the water space that they hired. 'We are very concerned about this especially as it takes place so close to our team's departure for Beijing. We should be able to work things out by the end of next week,' said Embong, who might care to take a course in forward-planning when the Games are out of the way.
Australia signed a contract with the National Sports Complex that permits them to use the aquatic centre during the early morning and early evening slots that are ideal for training. They are due to arrive in Kuala Lumpur in the last week of July before departing for the Beijing Olympics on August 4.