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Sunday November 25, 2012
By LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: Football great Diego Maradona was the star attraction as he visited the venue to cheer on the divers competing in the Asian Swimming Championships in Dubai yesterday.
And Malaysia also witnessed a star of their own in the making as young diver Loh Zhiayi showed her potential in the platform discipline by bagging her first medal of the championships.
The 15-year-old partnered Cheong Jun Hoong for the first time to clinch the bronze in the women’s 10m platform synchro final with a total of 230.82 points.
China’s Xing Yiying-Wang Wenna captured the gold with 315.21 points while Japan’s Yuka Mabuchi-Fuka Tatsumi took the silver on 240.72.
Zhiayi made her debut in the quadrennial Asian meet with a fourth place in the individual 10m platform on Thursday.
Zhiayi, a double gold medallist at the Kuantan Sukma early this year, will be delighted to return home with a medal as she was not even supposed to be competing in the first place.
Zhiayi only learnt that she had been selected two weeks ago after London Olympic bronze medallist Pandelela Rinong was excluded from the team due to an ankle injury.
The country’s number two woman platform diver, Traisy Vivien Tukiet, was not considered because she was sitting for her SPM exams.
Zhiayi was delighted to have made the podium in only her second senior outing after the inaugural SEA Aquatics Championships in Singapore in June.
“The competition isn’t that strong for women’s synchro but I’m pleased as this was the first time I was diving with Jun Hoong.
“It will motivate me to fight for another medal in the women’s springboard synchro,” she said.
There were more cheers for the team as Ooi Tze Liang-Chew Yiwei claimed a second bronze for Malaysia in the men’s 10m platform synchro behind a Japanese pair.
Malaysia have four medals to show from diving so far.
Tze Liang partnered Yiwei to silver in the men’s 3m springboard synchro and earned a second silver in the individual springboard earlier.
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