The Tokyo Olympics-bound national divers' hopes of an early season warm-up is not going to happen.

FINA, the world body for aquatics, have decided to postpone the four legs of the Diving World Series until after the Tokyo Olympics because of Covid-19.

China was supposed to kickstart the international calendar with the first two legs of the World Series in Zhuhai (Feb 26-28) and Xi'an (March 5-7), followed by Kazan (March 19-21) and Montreal (March 26-28).

But China's strict policy of not allowing international sporting events until March has put an end to such plans.

There were also doubts whether Russia and Canada wanted to go ahead with their events.

As a result, FINA announced that the World Series will be pushed back until September or October.

The latest development is a big blow to Malaysia's Pandelela Rinong, Leong Mun Yee and Wendy Ng who have qualified for the World Series.

They will miss the chance of gauging their form for the Olympics after being out of competition for so long.

Incidentally, Pandelela-Mun Yee's last action was the World Series leg in Montreal last February where they won the women's 10m platform synchro silver.

Malaysia Swimming (MS) secretary general Mae Chen said: "The World Series is not an Olympic qualifying event but it would have still been a good platform for them to see where they stand after not diving for so long.

"Divers need competitions to gauge where they stand but it is most unfortunate due to the current situation."

With the latest postponement, the Diving World Cup in Tokyo on April 18-23 will now be the first international competition for the year.

But even that is still under a dark cloud as Japan extended its border restrictions until March 7. - New Straits Times