Malaysia's dive queen Pandelela Rinong had a quiet birthday celebration in China where she is preparing for her first competition of the year in Beijing on March 14. - Filepic
PETALING JAYA: It was business as usual for woman platform diver Pandelela Rinong, who spent her 21st birthday at the pool on Sunday.
The London Olympic bronze medallist did not have much of a celebration although it was a weekend. She spent the day at the diving centre in Guangzhou, China, along with the rest of her team-mates for light training.
Pandelela, however, shared a birthday cake with her team-mates and fellow coaches later in the day.
“Head coach Yang Zhuliang does not simply grant leave. We are in China and he is strict with us as he wants to make sure we’re tired by the time we finish our training,” said the Sarawakian, who has been in China for nearly a month.
It is going to be a busy year for Pandelela as she has to focus on the defence of her Commonwealth Games 10m platfom individual title in Glasgow in July as well as prepare for the Incheon Asian Games in August.
There is also the Diving World Series where Pandelela will try to defend her overall runner-up finishes in the individual platform as well as the 10m platform synchro with Leong Mun Yee.
The first of the six-leg Diving World Series gets under way in Beijing from March 14-16 and Pandelela will also be leading the squad to the World Cup in Shanghai from July 15-20.
Pandelela, a second year Sports Science student at Universiti Malaya, will leave for Beijing next week along with Ahmad Amsyar, OoiTze Liang, Wendy Ng Yan Yee, Cheong Jun Hoong and Mun Yee.
The six qualified for the Diving World Series, which is for the world’s top eight ranked divers in individual and synchro disciplines.
“It’s my first competition this year and I hope to do well in both the individual and synchro events. I’ve been working a lot on getting my consistency up since we came here,” said Pandelela.
After Beijing, the remaining rounds of the Diving World Series are in Dubai (March 20-22), London (April 25-27), Moscow (May 2-4), Windsor, England (May 30-June 1) and Monterrey, Mexico (June 6-8).
Meanwhile, Loh Zhiayi failed in her bid to earn a second quota spot for Malaysia at the Youth Olympic qualifiers for diving in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Sunday.
The 16-year-old made the final but could only finish 12th with a 323.55 total in the girls’ 3m springboard. The top 10 finalists qualify for the Youth Olympics in Nanjing in August.
Earlier on Saturday, Zhiayi earned a quota spot for Malaysia when she finished seventh in the platform event.