SHE is only 17 and just 152cm tall. But diver Nur Dhabitah Sabri’s smiles are huge compared to her stature and has helped the winsome lass capture the hearts of the nation.
Other divers are typically poker-faced when lining up for their dives on the towering platform, but not Dhabitah.
And then, no matter how the dive went, she would always emerge from the pool flashing that infectious and endearing smile.
It comes naturally, it seems. Even in training she’s like that.
“I smile because it takes away everything, it soothes my nerves,” said Dhabitah, who finished ninth – with a 338 point total – among the 12 finalists in her Olympic debut in the women’s 10m platform individual finals.
The youngster is aware that she is still a long way from being a finished product, despite finishing above her more illustrious team mate Pandelela Rinong at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre on Thursday.
Pandelela, the event’s bronze medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, placed 11th in the finals, with 330.45 points.
China’s Ren Qian and Si Yajie dominated the 10m platform final event to take gold and silver, leaving Canada’s Meagan Benfeito a distant third.
“I’m really, really happy.
“This is my first time competing in the Games. I’m very thankful to be able to reach the final,” Dhabitah said.
Her performance in Rio shows Dhabitah to be a potential successor to Pandelela in the future.
“I hope I can. It’s an honour to compete with her.
“There are a lot of things that I still need to learn and improve on before I can be as good as her,” said the Form Five student.
Dhabitah also competed in the 3m springboard synchro event, with Cheong Jun Hoong.
The pair finished fifth in the eight-team final.
Malaysia took silver in diving on Aug 9, through Pandelela and Cheong in the 10m platform synchro event.