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Monday November 26, 2012
By LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: Cheong Jun Hoong (pic) affirmed her status as the country’s number one female springboard diver by grabbing two bronze medals in the Asian Swimming Championships in Dubai.
The 22-year-old showed consistency to finish the individual 3m springboard discipline ahead of two Japanese divers to earn her second medal of the meet.
Jun Hoong finished with 310.45 points to edge ahead of Japanese duo Shinusawa Sayaka (308.00) and Mabuchi Yuka (300.65).
Zhang Jun led a Chinese sweep of gold and silver, finishing with 368.25 points ahead of compatriot Wei Ying (347.50).
Malaysia’s Wendy Ng Yan Yee made one mistake and had to settle for eighth place (249.60) in the top 12 final.
Jun Hoong went on to grab her second bronze in the 3m springboard synchro with Loh Zhiayi, amassing 256.27 points to finish behind China (321.90) and Japan (270.69).
She had made a perfect start in her combination with 15-year-old Zhiayi to clinch their first bronze in the 10m platform synchro final two days ago. Jun Hoong, who battled back from a career threatening back injury that kept her out of the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, will be pleased with her latest performances after a disappointing outing at the London Olympics in July.
Jun Hoong had ended Malaysia’s eight-year SEA Games drought in the women’s 3m springboard individual in Indonesia last year and went on to secure two quota spots for the London Olympics in February.
The Perak-born diver had high hopes of reaching at least the top 18 semi-finals in her first Olympic outing but fell short of fulfilling her goal in London, placing 20th in the preliminaries with a total of 272.45 points.
Jun Hoong scored better marks in Dubai this time but, more importantly, she can look towards the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon with confidence knowing that she has a shot at a medal or two in the springboard.
National coach Huang Qiang said Jun Hoong cannot rest on her laurels despite finishing with three medals in the Asian meet.
“The competition isn’t exactly that strong but she managed to perform consistently,” he said.
“She controlled her dives better than she did at the Olympics although we didn’t train much before the meet.”
Jun Hoong won a bronze in the 1m springboard individual at the last Asian Games in Guangzhou two years ago.
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