Filepic of Loh Zhiayi. She qualified for the Youth Olympics in August after finishing 7th at the qualifying tournament in Mexico over the weekend.
PETALING JAYA: Loh Zhiayi failed to secure a medal but managed to secure Malaysia a berth at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, in August.
In the Youth Olympic qualifiers for diving in Guadalajara, Mexico, over the weekend, Zhiayi finished seventh in the girls’ platform final.
She was in contention for a medal as she was placed third with two dives to go. But the Asian Youth Games silver medallist failed to score well enough in her last two dives, chalking only 48.00 and 62.40 attempts for a 402.80 total.
Huang Xiaohui of China won with 487.95 points. Mexican Alejandra Orozco, who bagged the silver in the 10m platform synchro at the 2012 London Olympics, took the silver with 480.35 points. Ingrid Oliveira of Brazil finished third with a 411.55 total.
But the goods news was that the 16-year-old Zhiayi ensured Malaysia a representative in diving for the second consecutive time at the Youth Olympics. All the top nine divers are automatic qualifiers for the Nanjing competition.
Malaysia coach Yang Zhuliang was pleased Zhiayi did everything in the book to earn Malaysia the quota spot.
“Zhiayi used the same difficulty level as when she competed at the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing last year.
“She did well to make the final and finish in the top nine to qualify for the Youth Olympics.
“It was her only chance as she would not be eligible in four years’ time,” said Zhuliang.
Mohd Nazreen, however, failed in his bid to earn a quota spot for Malaysia in the boys’ 3m springboard.
Nazreen, a two-gold medallist in his SEA Games debut in Myanmar last December, finished 13th in the preliminaries with 466.55 points.
Rodrigo Diego Lopez earned cheers for hosts Mexico by winning with a 630.75 total
For the record, Pandelela Rinong made history for Malaysia when she captured two silvers in the girls’ 3m springboard and 10m platform at the inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010.