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Tuesday April 30, 2013
By LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: The heat is on Pandelela Rinong as she heads to the remaining two legs of the FINA Diving World Series in Mexico next month.
Last season, Pandelela finished second overall in the 10m platform individual. But this season, she has been struggling for form.
After the completion of the four legs, Pandelela is ranked third overall with 40 points. The two-time National Sportswoman of the Year finished last in the third leg in Edinburgh and fifth in the fourth leg in Moscow on Sunday.
It is only her consistency in making the finals in all the four legs so far that has helped her to stay in the top three.
Two-time Olympic champion Chen Ruolin of China leads with 52 points followed by Russia’s Yulia Koltunova (44). Chinese teenager Si Yajie, who did not compete in the first two legs in Beijing and Dubai but won the subsequent two legs, is fourth on 36 points.
Pandelela must find her way back to the podium in the last two legs in Guadalajara (May 17-19) and Mexico City (May 24-26) or she can forget about a top three overall finish.
The champion will receive US$12,000 while the runner-up will take home US$10,000. The third overall finisher will get US$8,000.
The winner of each leg earns 18 points, followed by 16 for a silver and 14 for a bronze. The rest who did not make the podium will take home points ranging from 12 to three depending on their final positions.
Pandelela said she needs to buck up fast.
“I will have to find out what went wrong when I return to training later this week. I will discuss with coach Yang (Zhuliang) to work things out.
“Hopefully I can bounce back in the last two legs in Mexico. I am determined to be a better diver,” said the 20-year-old from Moscow.
Pandelela added that the competition was stiffer this year.
“Ruolin is as good as ever. Yajie has been a revelation this year. As for Yulia, she is getting better and more consistent since the World Championships (in Shanghai in 2011). It is not easy to get on the podium,” said Pandelela.
The Sarawakian, however, is pleased with her form in the 10m platform synchro with Leong Mun Yee. The duo, who won the silver in Edinburgh and Moscow, are second overall with 81 points.
China’s reigning Olympic champions Chen Ruolin and Wang Hao lead with 108 points.
In the women’s 3m springboard synchro, Wendy Ng Yan Yee-Cheong Jun Hoong are third overall with 72 points behind China (108) and Ukraine (78).
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