KUALA LUMPUR: The smile is back on diver Nur Dhabitah Sabri’s face.
She not just nailed her ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but also became the first Malaysian diver to win gold at the Asian Diving Cup in two different disciplines.
The 20-year-old led from start till the end to claim the women’s 3m springboard individual gold medal for Malaysia at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil last night.
She won the five-dive final contest with 313.85 points.
Malaysia also got the silver through Loh Zhiayi, who chalked up 223.45 points.
Indonesia’s Linadini Yasmin got the bronze with 191.30 points.
Dhabitah’s triumph lifted the gloom in the diving camp after Chew Yiwei let slip a golden opportunity to win the men’s 3m springboard individual event on Saturday.
Yiwei failed to hold on to the half-way lead and settled for second behind Japan’s Ken Terauchi, who snatched the Olympic ticket.
Only the respective individual winners make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics and it was a relief to Dhabitah that she lived up to expectations in the absence of the Chinese springboard divers.
It was in the 2015 Asian Diving Cup, also held in Bukit Jalil, where Dhabitah won the women’s 10m platform individual event to make the cut for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics the following year.
Dhabitah finished ninth in the final in Rio and won millions of new fans overnight despite not winning a medal due to her ever-smiling appearance.
She will be joining Wendy Ng Yan Yee as they earned the maximum two Olympic quota spots for Malaysia in the women’s 3m springboard event.
Wendy made the cut earlier through the World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, in July, where she finished ninth in the final.
“This was a good opportunity for me to win the Olympic ticket, so I only focused on the 3m springboard individual this time.
“There was a lot of pressure as the expectations were on me and I’m just relieved to clear my dives, ” said Dhabitah, who led in the preliminaries with 295.85 points in the morning.
Malaysia have earned four quota slots for the Tokyo Olympics so far.
Pandelela Rinong-Leong Mun Yee earned the early slot for Malaysia by winning silver in the women’s 10m platform synchro at the world meet and Pandelela also added another ticket in the women’s 10m platform individual.
Women’s 3m springboard individual: 1. Nur Dhabitah Sabri (Mas) 313.85,2. Loh Zhiayi (Mas) 223.45,3. Linadini Yasmin (Ina) 191.30.
Mixed 10m platform synchro: 1. Duan Yu-Zhang Minjie (Chn) 317.94,2. Ri Kwon-hyok-Kim Kyong-sim (Prk) 297.24,3. Hanis Nazirul Jaya Surya-Leong Mun Yee (Mas) 293.70.