Filepic of Leong Mun Yee and Pandelela Rinong winning bronze at the Diving World Championships in Barcelona last year. The pair struck bronze again in the 10m platform synchro event in the first leg of the World Series in Beijing.
PETALING JAYA: Pandelela Rinong-Leong Mun Yee came good on the last dive to clinch a bronze medal in the Diving World Series opening leg in Beijing.
The Malaysian pair were in fourth spot with one final dive to go. Although they left it late, they got it right to pick up 71.04 points for a 303.96 total and a podium spot in the women’s 10m platform synchro final on Friday – in their first competition of the year.
Canadians Roseline Filion-Meaghan Benfeito, the bronze medallists at the 2011 World Championships in Barcelona, took silver with 307.56 points.
China’s reigning Olympic champions Chen Ruolin-Liu Huixia took gold with 347.52 points.
It could have been a silver for Pandelela-Mun Yee if they had scored above 70.00 in their fourth dive but they were undone by a poor entry.
Coach Yang Zhuliang said they could consider themselves lucky to finish above the established pairs – like Britain’s Sarah Barrow-Tonia Couch and Mexico’s Paola Espinosa-Alejandra Orozco, the silver medallists at the 2012 London Olympics.
Pandelela-Mun Yee finished fourth in the event when Beijing hosted the World Series leg last year.
“Our pair’s performance was just what I expected. We are now up there with the other top pairings in the world and the competition is very close.
“It’s the first competition for everyone. Everyone is having problems getting the consistency right at this time,” said Zhuliang.
Pandelela-Mun Yee also took bronze at the world meet in Barcelona and finished overall runners-up in the series last year.
The six-leg series is only for the top eight ranked divers in individual and synchronised disciplines.
The other Malaysians who made the cut this year are Cheong Jun Hoong-Wendy Ng Yan Yee for women’s 3m springboard synchro and Ahmad Amsyar-Ooi Tze Liang for men’s 3m springboard synchro.
Pandelela will make a bid to qualify for the 10m platform individual final on Sunday.
The second leg of the series will be in Dubai next weekend.