Pandelela-Dhabitah hope to get podium finish in synchro event

PETALING JAYA: Divers Pandelela Rinong and Nur Dhabitah Sabri (pic) know it’s quite impossible to deny China from retaining the women’s 10m platform synchro at the World Championships.

But it will not stop them from trying hard to be on the podium in Budapest.

With only nine pairs entered for the event, Pandelela-Dhabitah have been assured of a place in the final today. The pressure will be off Pandelela-Dhabitah in the preliminary as they can treat it as a nice warm-up.

China’s Chen Yuxi and Quan Hongchan showed they are in their own class by making it a 1-2 finish in the individual platform earlier and look unstoppable to claim the synchro gold despite pairing up for the first time.

Olympic champion Hongchan might have settled for silver behind her older compatriot on Monday but still finished a massive 78 points ahead of the bronze medal winner Pandelela.

Pandelela will need to bring out her experience again to combine with Dhabitah to finish on the podium as they will be going up against relatively new pairings from Australia, Mexico, the United States and Britain.

Australia have their hopes in 14-year-old Charli Petrov, who is competing in the world meet for the first time, with Commonwealth Games champion and veteran diver Melissa Wu.

Delaney Schnell, who took silver for the US in the women’s 10m platform synchro at the Tokyo Olympics last year, is chasing for a place on the podium with Katrina Young.

Mexico have also opted for a new pairing in Samantha Santos-Viviana Peniche. Britain have Emily Martin-Robyn Birch while Japan can rely on Minami Itahashi-Matsuri Arai to surprise.

“It’s the first major competition after the Tokyo Olympics and some countries are using the world championships to test out the new combinations for the coming Olympic cycle,” said Malaysia Swimming secretary Mae Chen.

“We’re also doing the same. Previously, Dhabitah was focusing on the 3m springboard but she is now partnering Pandelela after Leong Mun Yee retired. We hope for the best.”

On Tuesday, Hanoi SEA Games champions Jellson Jabillin-Hanis Nazirul Jaya Surya gave a good account of themselves to reach the men’s 10m platform synchro final for the first time and finished 11th with 322.35 points.

Jellson-Hanis grabbed the last ticket for the final after scoring 311.85 points for 12th place in the preliminary round.

China’s Yang Hao-Lian Junjie took gold with 467.79 points ahead of Britain’s Matthew Lee-Noah Williams (427.71) and Canada’s Rylan Wiens-Nathan Zsombor-Murray (417.12).

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