KUALA LUMPUR: After fumbling at the World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea last month, diver Nur Dhabitah Sabri now has a golden opportunity to become the fourth Malaysian diver to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Dhabitah will compete in the Asian Diving Cup at the National Aquatics Centre in Bukit Jalil from Sept 6-8, which is the continental qualifying event for the Olympics.
Diving powerhouse China will send a team but not for women’s 3m springboard event.
Only the respective individual winners will earn a slot for the Tokyo Olympics from the Asian meet in Bukit Jalil.
The 20-year-old Dhabitah is only focusing on the 3m springboard individual where she can expect to fight it out with fellow Malaysian Jasmine Lai and two Indonesians – Yasmin Linadini and Anasti Maria Natalie Dinda.
Dhabitah was the only Malaysian medal winner at the Diving World Series when she bagged bronze in the event at the final leg in London in May but she failed to secure an early ticket through the world meet after missing out on the top-12 final.
“I have been told that China are not sending the women’s springboard divers, so it is a very good opportunity for me to get into the Olympics.
“I still need to win the event to qualify and that is why I am only focusing on this one and not doing the synchro event.
“It is more of a mental challenge for me this time as I missed out on the world championships.
“If I can hold my nerves and get every dive right, I should be okay. The good thing is I have no injury problem now, ” said Dhabitah, who had a wonderful outing in her first Olympic campaign in Rio de Janeiro three years ago where she managed to reach the women’s 10m platform final.
She finished ninth in the final and captivated the worldwide audience despite not winning a medal with her ever smiling appearance.
Wendy Ng Yan Yee is not taking part in the women’s springboard as she has already qualified through the world meet. However, Pandelela Rinong and Leong Mun Yee will be diving in the women’s 10m platform synchro as they want to gauge where they stand against the North Korean pair Jo Jin-mi-Kim Mi-rae.
Pandelela-Mun Yee were silver medallists in the event at the recent world meet but the North Korean pair did not take part.
Ooi Tze Liang and Chew Yiwei also have their work cut out in trying to earn the Olympic ticket from the men’s 3m springboard individual as they have Japan’s Ken Terauchi and Sho Sakai as their main rivals.
A total of 10 countries will be represented in the Asian meet. Besides Malaysia, China, Japan and North Korea, the others are Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kuwait, Macau, Qatar, Singapore and Uzbekistan.
THE MALAYSIAN TEAM
Men: Chew Yiwei, Ooi Tze Liang, Jellson Jabillin, Gabriel Gilbert Daim, Hanis Nazirul Jaya Surya, Muhd Syafiq Puteh.
Women: Pandelela Rinong, Leong Mun Yee, Nur Dhabitah Sabri, Jasmine Lai, Loh Zhiayi, Ong Ker Ying.