PETALING JAYA: Diver Cheong Jun Hoong capped a glorious outing for Malaysia by bagging the women’s 3m springboard individual gold in the Singapore-leg of the World Diving Grand Prix at OCBC Aquatics Centre.
It was the second gold medal won by Jun Hoong in Singapore. She had also finished tops in the 3m springboard synchro final with Wendy Ng the day before.
The individual victory was all the more remarkable as she beat two Chinese divers – Wang Han and Liu Huixia.
Jun Hoong notched the breakthrough win for Malaysia after completing her five-dive routine in the final with 357.35 points.
Wang Han, the overall winner of this year’s Diving World Series, trailed Jun Hoong with one dive to go and settled for silver with 351.25 points.
Wang Han won the gold with Shi Tingmao in the 3m springboard synchro as well as two silver medals in the 1m and 3m springboard individual events at the recent Incheon Asian Games. She was also the silver medallist for China in 3m springboard individual at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona.
Her team-mate Huixia, who took gold with Chen Ruolin in the 10m platform synchro in Incheon, completed the last podium spot for China with 332.15 points.
Jun Hoong showed promise of an upset when she split the Chinese duo in the preliminaries. She managed 320.50 to be behind Wang Han (336.80) but ahead of Huixia (316.85).
Ipoh-born Jun Hoong is only the second Malaysian diver to win an individual event on the World Diving Grand Prix circuit but her victory is sweeter as it was achieved in the presence of Chinese divers.
Pandelela Rinong bagged the women’s 10m platform individual gold in the Montreal-leg in 2012 but China’s divers did not compete then.
Jun Hoong, who took bronze in the 3m springboard individual in Incheon with 327.10 points, is aware of the significance of her latest win over China’s divers.
Unlike their male counterparts, China’s women divers have rarely been beaten in recent years.
“I dived very well throughout the competition to get this results. I didn’t think too much (that I was competing against China divers),” said the 24-year-old Jun Hoong.
There was more joy for Malaysia as Chew Yiwei earned his first individual medal on the World Diving Grand Prix circuit – a silver in men’s 10m platform individual.
The 19-year-old Yiwei completed the six-dive competition with 452.35 points to finish ahead of China’s Huo Liang.
Huo Liang, who won gold in the 10m platform synchro at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, posted 433.40 points while his team-mate Chen Aisen took the gold convincingly with 531.50 points.
Yiwei also partnered Ahmad Amsyar to take bronze in the 3m springboard synchro with 367.44 points behind Colombia’s Sebastian Villa and Sebastian Morales (371.49). China claimed the gold through He Chao and Li Shixin (422.82).
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