PETALING JAYA: After a forgettable outing at the Tokyo Olympics last year, diver Pandelela Rinong has made sweet amends at the 19th World Championships in Budapest.
The 29-year-old won bronze in her pet event – the individual 10m platform – after splashing to 338.55 points at the Duna Arena on Monday evening.
Pandelela was pleased with the result in her first major outing on the world stage after nearly a year.
She won the World Cup in Tokyo in May last year but then finished dead last in the top-12 women’s individual platform final in the Olympics three months later, which was her worst experience in four Olympic appearances.
“I guess we can say it was my redemption (after Tokyo Olympics). I see every success and every failure as a motivation,” said Pandelela, who will partner Nur Dhabitah Sabri for the 10m platform synchro tomorrow.
“At 29, this medal shows that I can still compete individually.”
Pandelela made a conservative start, earning a 63.0 but stepped up with a clean entry in the second dive.Her back 2.5 somersault pike earned her 71.05 from the judges. She then moved to bronze medal position after scoring 62.40 for her armstand back 2 somersault 1.5 twist free.
Pandelela used all her experience to fend off rivals Ingrid Oliveira of Brazil and Canadian Caeli McKay, scoring 75.20 and 67.20 in her last two dives.
Oliveira, who qualified third after the semi-finals, was placed fourth with 327.10 points ahead of McKay (318.45).
Chen Yuxi just edged Chinese compatriot and Tokyo Olympics champion Quan Hongchan with her last dive to successfully defend her women’s 10m platform individual title with 417.25 points. Hongchan, making her first world championship appearance, settled for silver with 416.95 points.
“I also want to thank my supporters for the well wishes and believing in me,” said Pandelela, who was awed by the astonishing performance of the two Chinese divers.
“I am always inspired to watch the Chinese divers perform,” she said.
With the bronze, Pandelela has maintained her impressive record at the world meet as this is her sixth medal in seven outings and only her second time making the individual podium.
Meanwhile, Mohd Syafiq Puteh and Chew Yiwei failed to make the cut for the top 18 semis after finishing 35th (327.35) and 51st (255.65) respectively in the preliminary round of the men’s individual 3m springboard.