High hopes on divers in Birmingham after rousing display at worlds


All smiles: Nur Dhabitah Sabri (left) and Pandelela Rinong posing with their bronze medals at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest.

SEPANG: Expectations are now high on the divers to make golden splashes at the upcoming Birmingham Commonwealth Games after their rousing performance at the World Aquatics Championships.

The squad went to Budapest without any medal expectations but returned home with two bronze medals.

Pandelela Rinong bagged a bronze in the women’s 10m individual platform behind the Chinese divers. It is only the second time in seven world championships participations that she has managed to make the individual podium.

Her first was when she finished third in the 2015 edition in Kazan.

The Sarawakian then partnered Dhabitah Sabri to claim another bronze in the 10m platform synchro behind the United States and defending champions China.

It is also the third straight time Malaysia made the podium in the event.

Pandelela, who returned home yesterday, is happy to finish above their rivals from the Commonwealth countries, notably Australia, England and Canada.

At the last Commonwealth Games in Malaysia, Pandelela partnered Cheong Jun Hoong to take gold in the 10m platform synchro and she is hopeful of a repeat performance in her pet events if everything goes her way during competition.

“This is a good preparation for the coming Commonwealth Games as we can see where we stand on current form among our rivals.

“I always think positive and hope for the best at the Games in my strong events.

“Most important is that we work hard for it and know we have given our best at the end of the day,” added Pandelela, who burst onto the international scene with a breakthrough gold in the 10m individual platform in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. That was the first time a Malaysian diver took gold at the Games.

Dhabitah, whose medal in the world meet was a career first, is hopeful of getting onto the podium in Birmingham.

She will not just have medal chances in the 10m platform synchro but also in the 3m springboard synchro with Wendy Ng Yan Yee.

Dhabitah finished sixth with Wendy in Budapest.

“The main target is the Commonwealth Games and for now is to fix what needs to be fixed.

“I just want to continue to improve, keep training hard, be disciplined and avoid injuries,” said the 22-year-old diver from Kuala Lumpur.

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