RIO DE JANEIRO: Cheong Jun Hoong put up her hand and admitted that it was her error that cost Malaysia a first medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
The 26-year-old messed up her dive in round four of the women's 3m springboard synchro with Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Malaysia plunged down from third to fourth at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre.
Jun Hoong and Dhabitah then recorded the second worst score - 64.80 - among the eight pairs in the fifth and final dive and eventually had to finish fifth with 293.40 points.
China's Shi Tingmao and Wu Minxia led from start to finish to take the gold with a 345.60 total.
Italians Tania Cagnotto and Francesca Dallape finished second on 313.83. Australia's Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith made a last-ditch effort with a splendid 71.10 performance in the fifth dive to take the bronze with 299.19.
Jun Hoong and Dhabitah were in bronze medal position as they were joint third with Britain's Alicia Blagg and Rebecca Gallantree after the first two dives. But Malaysia broke free to grab sole third with their best dive in round three with 71.10 points.
There was hope of a medal until the experienced Jun Hoong, who made her Olympic debut in London in 2012, inexplicably made a gaffe in round four with a big splash.
Jun Hoong was in tears while giving an interview by the poolside.
"It was my mistake," said Jun Hoong, who together with Dhabitah were the shortest pair in the field.
"I'm really disappointed. It could have turned out differently. Still, it was a better result than I had with Pandelela (Rinong in London where they finished eighth)," added Jun Hoong, who stands at 1.50m.
Despite being a first timer in the biggest Games in the world, Dhabitah hardly showed any nerves. The 17-year-old was always smiling when she lined up for her dives.
"In the first place, we were lucky to be taking part here. I have another event (10m platform individual) and I'll try my best to give a good performance," said Dhabitah, who stands at 1.52m.
As for Jun Hoong, she still has another two more events. She will compete in the 3m individual springboard as well as the 10m platform synchro, making her the busiest Malaysian at these Games.
She will partner Pandelela, a bronze medallist in the 10m platform individual at the London Games, and the duo are Malaysia's best hope to produce a medal in diving in Rio.
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