KUALA LUMPUR: First, it was Ooi Tze Liang.
Now, star attraction Pandelela Rinong has joined the crock squad on the eve of the FINA Diving Grand Prix, which begins Friday at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil.
Tze Liang had been ruled out on Tuesday with a stress injury on his left shin.
The 22-year-old Pandelela sprained her back during training on Thursday and has been advised by the National Sports Institute (NSI) to skip the three-day meet.
Pandelela, who has not competed since winning a bronze in the World Championships in Kazan in July, was slated to compete in the 10m platform individual event.
Having been rested for the Asian Diving Cup last month, it seems like she’ll have to wait even longer for action as she could also miss out on next week’s final round of the Australian Grand Prix in Gold Coast.
The extent of Pandelela’s injury is not clear although the diver has undergone a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
“I sprained my back this morning and went to seek treatment right away. I was advised by the NSI not to participate this week,” confirmed Pandelela, without elaborating.
She had also suffered a back injury prior to the 2012 London Olympics, where she claimed a bronze for Malaysia’s first-ever medal outside badminton.
Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) secretary Mae Chen said that Pandelela would undergo an ultrasound scan, Friday.
Mae, however, allayed fears over the injury.
“It can’t be serious, otherwise she can’t walk,” explained Mae.
“But we have to rest her to prevent worsening the injury.
“We must ensure that her preparation towards the (Rio de Janeiro) Olympics remains intact. It’s better to address this minor injury now than letting it worsen”
Mae also said that the haze condition will not stop Malaysia from hosting the diving competition for the second time.
“The GP will go on. It’s not a high-intensity sport, so the haze will not affect us that badly,” she said.
This week’s event, the penultimate round of the nine-leg series, has attracted 65 divers from 13 countries.
Malaysia will be represented by women divers Leong Mun Yee, Cheong Jun Hoong, Wendy Ng Yan Yee, Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Jasmine Lai. The men are Chew Yi Wei, Ahmad Amsyar Azman and Muhd Syafiq Puteh.
China will be sending their second stringers, but they are still expected to dominate proceedings after bagging nine golds, three silvers and one bronze at last week’s Singapore Grand Prix.