GLASGOW: Divers Pandelela Rinong and Nur Dhabitah Sabri only trained together for three days before the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
On Wednesday, it proved to be just enough for them to win a bronze in the women’s 10m platform synchro at the Royal Commonwealth Pool with a total score of 300.12 points.
They even fared better than team-mates and recent World Cup silver medallists Leong Mun Yee-Cheong Jun Hoong.
Interestingly, Mun Yee-Jun Hoong were in a position to challenge for the gold but a poor dive by Jun Hoong in the fifth and last round derailed their chances and they ended up fourth with 298.92.
Canadians Meaghan Benfeito-Roseline Filion put up a classy show in the final dive to come out tops with 310.65 points.
England’s Sarah Barrow-Tonia Couch took the silver with 307.92 – just 7.8 points more than the Malaysians.
Pandelela, who has just recovered from a knee injury, proclaimed herself happy, although she had won a silver in the same event with Mun Yee at the last Games in New Delhi.
“This really is a surprise medal for us. We only had three days of training together … we hope that we will be kept together more regularly after winning this bronze medal,” said Pandelela.
“Mun Yee and Jun Hoong have been training together longer and are in better form. My coach (Yang Zhuliang) allowed me to partner with Dhabitah.
“I have been carrying a knee injury for about a month now but I’m getting better.”
Pandelela said that she will now shift her focus to defending her individual 10m platform title.
“I wish to win it again but the divers from Canada, Australia and England are strong. I will do my best, for sure.”
Debutant Dhabitah said: “It is my first medal in Commonwealth Games and I hope this will give me more confidence going into two other events in the Games (3m springboard individual and synchro).”
Team manager Edwin Chong claimed that the delay in the start of the event affected most of the divers.
“I call it ‘disruptive delay’. Due to technical problems, the event started later (about 30 minutes) and it affected some of them, including our divers,” he said.
“They were rushing everyone as the delay had affected television broadcast ... some things are beyond our control.
“We could have nailed the gold if not for Jun Hoong’s mistake in the last dive. This is only her third platform event … she did very well at the recent World Cup in Shanghai.
“Pandelela-Dhabitah are a new pair and did well to land the bronze. It is a good start.”