MALAYSIAN swimming great Nurul Huda Abdullah is open to becoming the national coach — just not any time soon.
That’s because the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) and the National Sports Council (NSC) had, in April, hired highly-rated American coach Chris Martin to fill the void left by long-serving Australian Paul Birmingham.
“Yes, it’s (national coach role) something I would consider,” said Nurul recently.
“However, they’ve just hired a new coach (Martin) and you have to give him the chance to work with our current batch of swimmers.
“Give him some time, he only started this year. Hopefully, we will see some good results at the (Philippines) Sea Games later this year.”
Nurul, who won an astonishing 22 Sea Games gold medals between 1985-1989, hopes to give back to the sport in Malaysia after witnessing the lack of progress among national swimmers in recent years compared to their regional counterparts.
“After retiring from swimming I was away from the sport for a very, very long time. I was in Australia at that time so I was away from what was happening here,” said Nurul.
“It was only after the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Sea Games (KL2017) that I noticed our swimmers had not improved much compared to our neighbours, like Vietnam and Singapore
“We did make some improvement because our national records have been broken. But compared to our neighbours, we still have some way to go. Singapore has always been strong but Vietnam has improved a lot.
“It was also after KL2017 that I decided to come back and help out with development, using whatever experience and knowledge I’ve gained over the years.”
Nurul, who is deputy chef de mission for the Philippines Sea Games, has already set up her own private swimming academy in the Klang Valley, coaching children aged between 10 and 13.