Pandelela Rinong is enjoying her most impressive season in the Diving World Series so far with three medals from three legs and currently sitting second with 46 points.
PETALING JAYA: The absence of formidable Canadian rivals Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion could pave the way for diver Pandelela Rinong to climb to the top of the overall standings of the women’s 10m platform individual event at the fourth round of the Diving World Series in Moscow this weekend.
Pandelela is enjoying her most impressive season so far in the series with three medals from three legs and currently sitting second with 46 points, only two points behind China’s Liu Huixia.
After claiming two silver medals behind Huixia, who bagged the gold, in Beijing and Dubai last month, she continued her good form by finishing ahead of the promising Chinese youngster to capture bronze in the third round at the London Aquatics Centre last Sunday.
The London round saw the presence of two Chinese divers – Huixia and her more illustrious team-mate Chen Ruolin, who is a two-time Olympic champion.
Splitting the Chinese threat en route to posting 380.70 points to finish behind Benfeito (394.75) and Ruolin (400.55), made Pandelela’s bronze all the more satisfying.
This was the Sarawak-born diver’s second best performance score in her career.
Her best is still 381.75 points at the World University Games in Shenzen in 2011 where she won the silver behind Mexico’s Paola Espinosa. Espinosa, the 2009 world champion, failed to qualify for the top-six final in London.
Benfeito and Filion, who won bronze in the second round in Dubai last month, are skipping this weekend’s competition as it clashes with the Canadian Grand Prix in Gatineau, Quebec, which they have committed to.
Benfeito and Filion are ranked just behind Pandelela in third (38 points) and fourth (36 points) respectively.
Getting ahead of a Chinese diver for the first time in her career should put Pandelela’s confidence in place as she will only have to contend with the likes of Britain’s Tonia Couch – the bronze medallist from Beijing, Ukraine’s Yulia Prokopchuk and Mexico’s Alejandra Orozco – the silver medallist in synchro platform with Espinosa at the 2012 London Olympics.
But as far as the 21-year-old Pandelela is concerned, it is just mind over matter.
“I am a bit fatigued after the London round but I will try my best during the competition.
“It’s also another chance for me to learn from the great divers around the world,” said Pandelela after she arrived in Moscow on Monday.
Pandelela and partner Leong Mun Yee also have a chance to overtake the absent Canadian pair Benfeito-Filion in the platform synchro overall rankings if they get their act right in Moscow this weekend.
After winning two silver medals from the first two legs, Pandelela-Mun Yee finished fourth in London and currently lie third overall on 63 points behind Benfeito-Filion (66 points) and Ruolin-Huixia (81 points).