YEOH Ken Nee dived into history as the first Malaysian to stand on the Commonwealth Games podium 16 years ago.
He now hopes the current batch will be able to make the same impact when the competition starts with the men’s 1m springboard and women’s 10m platform individual preliminaries and finals take place at Sandwell Aquatics Centre.
Malaysia are not represented in the men’s 1m springboard individual but all eyes will be on Pandelela Rinong to claim the first diving medal, and hopefully the gold if she gets her act right in her pet event.
Pandelela is the most experienced diver on the start list and has put herself as the favourite after taking bronze at the recent World Championships in Budapest.
She is the only Malaysian in action as Nur Dhabitah Sabri will be competing in four other events later.
Dhabitah is down to partner Pandelela with the mission to win the women’s 10m platform synchro event and also has medal chances in the women’s 3m springboard synchro (with Wendy Ng Yan Yee), women’s 3m springboard individual and mixed 3m springboard synchro (with Mohd Syafiq Puteh).
“I believe Malaysia have good medal chances in the women’s 10m platform individual and synchro. Also in the 3m springboard synchro as Wendy-Dhabitah are in the top four among the Commonwealth countries,” said Ken Nee.
“Pandelela, Wendy and Dhabitah are experienced and have taken part in a few Olympics.
“The medals should come from the women’s side but I hope the men can contribute also.
“Our men did not win a medal at the last Commonwealth Games.
“I hope Ooi Tze Liang and Chew Yiwei can get a medal in the men’s 3m springboard synchro this time.
“Tze Liang and Yiwei are also not young as they were already in the senior team when I was still diving.
“As for younger divers, it will be hard to make the podium but they will be fighting for personal best scores,” said Ken Nee, who splashed to Malaysian diving history when he bagged silver in the men’s 1m springboard individual in the 2006 edition in Melbourne.
In Melbourne, the diving team also contributed one more silver through James Sandayud-Bryan Nickson Lomas in the men’s 10m platform synchro.
“I could have gotten a second medal in the 3m springboard as I was leading after the preliminary stage,” said Ken Nee.
“At that time, the scores from the preliminary rounds count to the total. But I came down with fever and had to pull out mid way in the final.
“But still our performance opened eyes of many as diving showed they can contribute medals even at Commonwealth Games,” said Ken Nee, who went on to win another bronze with Bryan in the men’s 3m springboard synchro in New Delhi four years later.