PETALING JAYA: If ever there is a chance for Malaysia to win a diving Olympic medal in Rio de Janeiro in August, then it has to be the women’s 10m platform synchro.
On Friday, Pandelela Rinong-Cheong Jun Hoong secured an Olympic quota slot for Malaysia in the event with a superb silver medal in the Diving World Cup in Rio.
Up against a world-class field in the final – and the rain – at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre, Pandelela-Jun Hoong gave it their all to finish with a total of 318.90 points.
China’s reigning world champions Chen Ruolin-Liu Huixia stormed to the gold with 344.04 points. Britain’s Sarah Barrow-Tonia Couch took bronze with 308.82 points.
The United States pairing of Amy Cozad-Jessica Parratto (299.94pts) and Mexico’s Paola Espinosa-Alejandra Orozco (299.40pts) finished third and fourth to complete the eight-nation field at the Rio Olympics.
China, Canada and North Korea have already qualified by virtue of finishing in the top three at the World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, Russia, last year together with hosts Brazil.
Pandelela-Jun Hoong needed to achieve a top-five finish to guarantee an Olympic slot for the nation in this event and they showed their intention early on by placing second in the preliminaries with 316.62 points, behind the Chinese pair (329.46).
London Olympic bronze medallist Pandelela is thrilled to stand on the podium in her fifth World Cup appearance.
“I’m happy and relieved that we achieved the target, which is to qualify for the Olympics in this event. I’ve finally collected medals at all world-level competitions,” said Pandelela, who was not fielded in the synchro event at the last World Cup meet in Shanghai two years ago as she was then recovering from a back injury.
“We stayed calm and focused on our dives. The conditions were difficult as it was raining.
“But none of the divers objected, so the competition continued,” added Pandelela, who partnered Mun Yee to two bronze medals at the 2009 and 2013 world meets in Rome and Barcelona.
Malaysia have already secured five individual spots through Ooi Tze Liang (men’s 3m springboard and 10m platform), Wendy Ng Yan Yee (women’s 3m springboard), Nur Dhabitah Sabri (women’s 10m platform) and Pandelela (women’s 10m platform) last year.
Malaysia will not be represented in the men’s synchro event at the Olympics, though.
Scratch pair Chew Yi Wei-Ahmad Amsyar failed to reach the men’s 3m springboard synchro final after finishing 17th in the preliminaries with 343.92 points.
Tze Liang was sidelined from the meet after failing to get medical clearance and Malaysia did not field any divers for the men’s 10m platform synchro event.
Men’s 3m springboard synchro final: 1. Cao Yuan-Qin Kai (Chn) 431.04, 2. Jahir Ocampo-Rommel Pacheco (Mex) 415.38, 3. Jack Laugher-Chris Mears (Bri) 408.51.
Women’s 10m platform synchro final: 1. Chen Ruolin-Liu Huixia (Chn) 344.04, 2. Pandelela Rinong-Cheong Jun Hoong (Mas) 318.90, 3. Sarah Barrow-Tonia Couch (Bri) 308.82.