KUALA LUMPUR: With just one plunge, Malaysian diver Ooi Tze Liang has laid to rest the ghosts that have been haunting him since the World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, Russia last month.
It also earned him a second Olympic spot in the men’s 10m platform individual. He had won the 3m springboard contest in the Asian Diving Cup on Friday to earn a quota spot for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Competing in the 10m platform at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil on Sunday, Tze Liang executed his fourth dive – a three-and-a-half back somersault with a 3.3 difficulty degree – well to earn 74.25 points.
That was enough for the 20-year-old, who flunked the dive at the world meet in Kazan, to go on and win the event.
Tze Liang finished off with two more scores of 86.70 and 81.60 for a 482.15 total to hold off China’s Cao Lizhi.
His Chinese rival earned 83.20 for the last dive for a 481.60 total.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling nervous today. It’s not easy performing on home soil. I flunked the fourth dive at the world meet in Kazan last month and missed out on the semi-finals,” recalled Tze Liang.
“I got a very low score (only 24.75 points) ... I was so disappointed with myself.
“Thankfully, my execution was good in all six dives in the final today. I can’t be any happier.
“I have to thank my coaches, Asum (Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia) and NSC (National Sports Council) for guiding and supporting me to make this possible,” added the Penang-born Tze Liang, who just missed out on qualifying for the London Olympics in 2012.
Malaysia are now assured of representation in all four individual events for diving.
Malaysia have earned the maximum two spots for women’s 10m platform through Nur Dhabitah Sabri, the winner of the 10m platform on Saturday, and Pandelela Rinong, who qualified via the bronze she won at the world meet in Kazan.
Wendy Ng Yan Yee got her Olympic ticket in the women’s 3m springboard after finishing eighth in Kazan.
Nur Dbahitah could have made it a golden double for Malaysia on Sunday but came up just short.
The 16-year-old put up a good fight to take silver in the women’s 3m springboard final with 351.80 points.
China’s Wu Chunting won the event with 354.70 points while Cheong Jun Hoong, making her competitive comeback after recovering from heel injuries, took the bronze.
Dhabitah returned to the pool later to win another silver with Chew Yiwei in the team event. The pairing chalked up 364.35 points in the new event, which sees the divers taking turns to dive from the 3m springboard and 10m platform.
RESULTS (all finals)
10m platform individual: 1. Ooi Tze Liang (Mas) 482.15, 2. Cao Lizhi (Chn) 481.60, 3. Woo Ha-ram (Kor) 477.35. Selected: 7. Chew Yiwei (Mas) 329.30.
3m springboard individual: 1. Wu Chunting (Chn) 354.70, 2. Nur Dhabitah Sabri (Mas) 351.80, 3. Cheong Jun Hoong (Mas) 319.95.
Team event: 1. Bowen Huang-Si Yuji (Chn) 405.55, 2. Chew Yiwei-Nur Dhabitah Sabri (Mas) 364.35, 3. Kim Jin-yong-Ko Eun-ji (Kor) 339.30.