NAYPYITAW: The SEA Games is not her stage but diving queen Pandelela Rinong will cherish the gold medal she is bringing home after winning her pet event at the Wunna Theikdi Aquatic Centre in Naypyitaw.
Pandelela, the London Olympic bronze medallist, continued her love affair with the SEA Games to splash to a third straight gold medal in the women’s individual 10m platform on Thursday.
There was never any doubt as to who would claim the gold as she led from the start to finish the five-dive competition on 346.60 points.
Team-mate Loh Zhiayi, the silver medallist at the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing in July, capped a great debut by taking silver with 292.10 points while Myanmar's Saw Hla Nandar won the bronze on 233.15pts.
This is the only event Pandelela is participating in as she is not featured in the platform synchro event on Saturday with regular partner Leong Mun Yee.
Mun Yee will be combining with Dhabitah Nur Sabri for the first time.
Pandelela has every reason to be proud to do her part in extending her dominance in the discipline.
It is the fifth SEA Games gold medal for the 20-year-old from Sarawak. She won a silver in the individual but took gold in synchro partnering Cheong Jun Hoong in Korat in 2007.
The Vientiane Games two years later saw her emerge as the star as she not only came out tops in the individual event for the first time but she also partnered Mun Yee to complete her double in synchro.
Pandelela was only entered for the individual platform event in Palembang two years ago.
“I did okay but it could have been better.
“The competition was actually between me and my team-mate.
“I love the SEA Games as this is where I first started in a competitive environment.
“It’s also my first win in platform for this year, so I feel happy I did my part for the country,” she said.
Malaysia are on a roll in diving having won all four events so far and will be looking to extend the run when the synchro disciplines take place on Friday.
Ooi Tze Liang will return to partner Ahmad Amsyar for the men’s 3m springboard synchro while Jun Hoong will combine with Wendy Ng for the women’s event.