MOHD Syafiq Puteh only managed to train together with partner Ooi Tze Liang a week before they arrived in Hangzhou for the Asian Games diving competition.
But that one week of training drills proved to be good enough for the recently formed Malaysian pair to snatch the bronze medal in the men’s 3m springboard synchro final at Hangzhou Aquatic Sports Centre last night.
It was the first time in nine years that Malaysia have made the men’s 3m springboard podium at the Asian Games. Then, Tze Liang had won a silver with Ahmad Amsyar in Incheon in 2014.
Syafiq-Tze Liang overtook Japan’s Haruki Suyama-Yuto Araki with three more dives to go to take the third with a total of 380.22 points.
The Japanese settled for fourth spot with 368.31 points.
China’s He Chao-Yan Siyu claimed gold with 422.55 points while South Korea’s Woo Ha-ram-Yi Jae-gyeong took silver with 393.00.
For the 27-year-old Syafiq, it was his first Asian Games medal but he never thought that he could win with just a month to go before coming to Hangzhou.
Syafiq was paired with Tze Liang after Chew Yiwei retired from the national diving team in May this year.
The Asian Games was only the second competition for the duo after the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan in July.
“I had high fever for a few days and that affected my fitness with three weeks remaining before the Asian Games,” said Syafiq.
“I lost my confidence and physically was not so good. It’s only in the last one week that I managed to train together with Tze Liang. I have to thank my partner for being patient with me.
“I promised to bring back something for my young daughter, so maybe that helped strengthen my resolve not to waste this opportunity,” added Syafiq.
Tze Liang was pleased to win a medal after missing out at the last Asiad in Indonesia in 2018.
“I finished fourth (with Yiwei) in this event, so I am happy to get a bronze this time.
“I am one of the seniors in the diving team and it is important for me to do well to encourage the younger divers,” said Tze Liang.