Divers short of competition after World Series postponed

PETALING JAYA: There will be no early season tune-ups for divers Pandelela Rinong, Leong Mun Yee and Wendy Ng Yan Yee ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

The aquatics governing body, FINA, have decided to postpone the four-legged Diving World Series due to the coronavirus.

China was slated to host the first-two legs in Zhuhai (Feb 26-28) and Xian (March 5-7). The other two stops are Kazan, Russia (March 19-21) and Montreal, Canada (March 26-28).

China has already implemented a strict lockdown policy and there are lingering doubts whether Russia and Canada will be able to go ahead with their legs.

FINA, in a statement, are now looking at a September or October date for the series where only the top eight ranked individual and synchro pairings are invited.

The last time Pandelela-Mun Yee saw action was at the Montreal series last February where they bagged a silver. It was also in the city where Pandelela clinched a bronze in the 10m platform.

Pandelela-Mun Yee are the nation’s top hopes at the Olympics after their silver-medal feat at the World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea in 2019.

Montreal was the only leg held last year as the Covid-19 pandemic saw events in Shanghai, Kazan and London called off.

“The Diving World Series is not an Olympics qualifying event but it would still be a good place for them to gauge themselves against their opponents after not competing for so long, ” said MS secretary Mae Chen.

“As it is, it’s not easy hosting events because of the strict health and safety protocols.”

The World Cup from April 18-23 in Tokyo will now be the first competition for the divers.

It is an Olympic test event and the final qualifier for the Tokyo Games.

Pandelela has already earned her spot at the Games in the 10m individual and synchro with Mun Yee while Wendy secured her place in the 3m springboard individual.

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