THEY looked to be sunk, but Pandelela Rinong-Nur Dhabitah Sabri clawed back from the deep end to kick off Malaysian diving team’s campaign in Hangzhou with a medal.
It was not the best of efforts from the duo who came from fourth spot to salvage the bronze in the women’s 10m platform synchro final at Hangzhou Aquatic Sports Centre last night.
Pandelela-Dhabitah were third after the first two dives but slipped to fourth after that. They remained fourth after the fourth dive, five points behind South Koreans Moon Na-yun-Cho Eun-bi.
All looked to be lost.
But in their fifth and final dive, the Malaysian pair produced their best effort of the day, scoring 65.28 to edge the Koreans to the bronze.
Pandelela-Dhabitah secured 266.94 points to push the Koreans, who finished with 263.49, into fourth spot.
Japan’s Matsuri Arai-Minami Itahashi snatched the silver with 290.04 points.
China’s reigning world and Olympic champions Quan Hongchan-Chen Yuxi were a class apart as they took gold with 375.30 points.
Pandelela, who partnered Dhabitah to bronze in the event at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary last year with 298.68 points, was glad to be back on the Asian Games podium after skipping the previous edition in Indonesia five years ago.
She last made the Asian Games podium in Incheon in 2014, also taking bronze in the women’s 10m platform synchro with Leong Mun Yee.
“I am grateful because I couldn’t compete in Palembang in 2018 because of injury.
“Tonight I am thankful and appreciate Dhabitah as we both managed to complete everything safely. It didn’t all go to plan but we are satisfied and will do our best for the next events,” said the two-time Olympic medal winner from Sarawak.
Dhabitah was also pleased to end up on the podium after having to skip the event at the world meet in Fukuoka, Japan in July because of a wrist injury.
“I am thankful. It has not been an easy last few months preparing as both of us haven’t been well,” she said.
“We spent the past month in China working together on our routine, so it has been a bit of a rush.
“I am just happy that we gave our 100% to get this bronze.”