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Malaysian diving coach accused of raping diver

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian national diving coach will go on trial for allegedly raping a diver who was training for the next Olympics, a lawyer for the athlete and reports said yesterday.

Huang Qiang is accused of raping the 20-year-old sportswoman at a gym in the National AquaticCentre in Kuala Lumpur last month.

Huang pleaded not guilty to the charge when he appeared in court in the capital on Wednesday, Mr Cheow Wee, a lawyer for the alleged victim, told AFP.

Huang, a father of two, who was born in China but now has Malaysian citizenship, faces up to 20 years in jail and caning if found guilty.

"She is traumatised but she is coping," Mr Cheow said of the athlete, who cannot be named for legal reasons. "The relevant organisations and associations are giving her full support - family and friends as well."

Local media reported that the diver was training with the Malaysian squad for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Diving is one of Malaysia's strongest sports. Last year, Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong claimed the country's first Olympic diving silver medal in the synchronised 10m platform category.

Malaysia also won all 13 diving gold medals at the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur in August.

Huang enjoyed considerable success during his own diving career. He was a gold medallist in the 2000 Diving World Cup in Sydney and took part in the 2012 London Olympics.

The judge allowed the defendant bail, with a bond of RM50,000 (S$16,000) and subject to several conditions including surrendering his passport. The next hearing was set for Nov 6. - AFP

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