KUALA LUMPUR: Ooi Tze Liang got off to a flying start when he retained his 3m springboard individual crown at the FINA world diving circuit.
The 25-year-old, who also won last year, held off China’s Miao Zhangming to give the hosts a great start in the Malaysia Diving Grand Prix at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Tze Liang took over the lead after the third dive and never missed a step to finish with a total of 439.70 points.
The Chinese back-up diver garnered 417.75 points to take silver. Switzerland’s European junior champion Jonathan Suckow completed the six-dive competition with 405.35 points for the bronze.
Another Malaysian diver Mohd Syafiq Puteh settled for fifth place with 385.70 points.
Tze Liang did not have the best of starts when he finished third in the morning preliminaries with 384.95 points.
However, he bounced back by entering the final as the highest qualifier.
Tze Liang chalked 455.10 points to finish ahead of Zhangming (428.85) in the second semi-final heat.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games springboard champion was pleased to get his game back on track after a disappointing outing at the Asian Diving Cup at the same venue in September and missed the cut for the Tokyo Olympics.
“It was an exhausting day for me as I had to wake up at 6.30am to get ready for the preliminaries and followed by the semis, ” he said.
“I did not do well in the first two dives in the morning as I was trying to find my rhythm.
“But I settled down after that. I’m happy with my performance compared to the Asian Diving Cup.
“This performance gives me the confidence to hope for more good things to come, ” added Tze Liang, who will return today to partner Chew Yiwei in the 3m springboard synchro event.
All eyes will be on Indonesia Asian Games silver medallist Wendy Ng Yan Yee who will be participating for the first time since making the cut for the Tokyo Olympics at the World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea in July.
Wendy will be competing in the 3m springboard preliminary and will face tough competition from the likes of Chinese divers Huang Xiaohui and Lin Shan.
Xiaohui is the 2014 Incheon Asian Games silver medallist while Lin Shan won a gold in the team event at the world meet in Gwangju.
Young pair Hanis Nazirul Jaya Surya-Jellson Jabillin will also be competing in the men’s 10m platform synchro event but will find it tough notching a second straight win as China are also represented through national back up divers Duan Yu-Wang Zewei.
Hanis-Jellson picked up a gold at the Australia Diving Grand Prix in Gold Coast last week.
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