PETALING JAYA: Malaysian divers Pandelela Rinong and Leong Mun Yee will give up a chance to earn additional prize money for the sake of Olympic glory.
Pandelela-Mun Yee, who compete in the women’s 10m platform synchro event, will skip the remaining two legs of the Diving World Series in Kazan, Russia from March 20-22 and in London from March 27-29 to prepare for the Diving World Cup in Tokyo from April 21-26.
Pandelela partnered Mun Yee to take silver in the first leg in Montreal last Friday. She also claimed a bronze in the women’s 10m platform individual the following day.
Pandelela-Mun Yee shared US$4,000 (RM16,800) for their silver achievement in the 10m platform synchro. Pandelela also earned US$3,000 (RM12,600) for her bronze win in the individual event.
But by pulling out, they will not be eligible to fight for the share of the overall prize money given to the top-six finishers.
The overall winner at the end of the series will pocket US$30,000 (RM126,015) while the runners-up will take home US$20,000 (RM84,090).
Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) secretary Mae Chan said the decision was made together with coach Li Rui.
“We decided that they will not participate in the last two legs of the Diving World Series as it’s too close to the World Cup meet, ” said Mae Chan.
“We are unable to bring the divers to train in China now because of the Covid-19 outbreak there, so the training plan is disrupted and the divers need more time for specific training.
“It looks like we will be training here (in Kuala Lumpur) until the World Cup meet as it seems to be the safest place to train now, ” she said.
The Diving World Cup is the final qualifying meet for the eight diving events at the Olympics.
Four more spots will be decided for the respective synchro events while another 18 spots will be given out for the respective individual events.
Pandelela-Mun Yee earned one of the three early tickets for the 10m platform synchro event after taking silver at the World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea last July.
Pandelela has also qualified for the women’s 10m platform individual while Wendy Ng Yan Yee and Nur Dhabitah Sabri already secured the maximum two slots for the women’s 3m springboard individual.
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