Wednesday, 11 June 2014 | MYT 6:47 PM
Asum not worried despite Benfeito's form
KUALA LUMPUR: Canadian Meaghan Benfeito has served notice to her rivals for the FINA World Cup in Shanghai (July 15-20) and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (July 23-Aug 3) with a stunning victory in Sunday’s final round of the Diving World Series in Mexico.
But the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) are not worried at all.
In fact, Asum are confident that Malaysian divers have what it takes to shine in the two major assignments next month.
Benfeito ended China’s reign in the women’s individual 10m platform with a personal best score of 398.20 points for her first career international victory.
China’s Liu Huixia, who was second with 395.30 points, ended up winning the overall crown after winning three out of the six rounds this year.
Malaysia’s Pandelela Rinong only finished fifth in Mexico but clinched the overall runner-up title, thanks to two silvers from the first two rounds (Beijing and Dubai) and a bronze in London.
Pandelela does have reasons to worry about defending her Commonwealth Games platform gold medal, which she won in New Delhi four years ago, as she will be locking horns with not only with a confident Benfeito but also the likes of Canada’s Roseline Filion and Britain’s Tonia Couch, who will have homeground advantage.
But Asum secretary Edwin Chong said the performances at the Diving World Series are not a good gauge for Pandelela and the other Malaysian divers.
“The format of the series is such that those who qualify have to compete in back-to-back events across the world,” said Edwin.
“The first two rounds saw them going to Beijing and Dubai. Then, they had to regroup in Moscow and London before the last two in Canada and Mexico.
“We have to take into account fatigue due to travel. Pandelela did her best ... to be able to make it to the top six final each time is not an easy thing to do.
“Only Pandelela and Huixia competed in all six rounds.
“The Canadian divers skipped two legs and had the benefit of competing on homeground in one one leg of the series.
“It’s going to be different at the Commonwealth Games as it will be a level playing field.
“Our divers can strike it right if they can be consistent on competition day.
“Our divers can improve further. In fact, we are going to attend centralised training in China soon to work on their weaknesses.”
Apart from the historic Commonwealth Games gold won by Pandelela in New Delhi, Malaysia also clinched one silver (Pandelela-Mun Yee in women’s 10m platform synchro) and two bronzes (Yeoh Ken Nee-Bryan Nickson Lomas in men’s 3m springboard synchro and Bryan in men’s individual 10m platform).