TOKYO: The national women’s diving squad arrived here with high hopes of delivering a medal or two. Instead, they head home from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics empty-handed.
Having delivered good news in the previous two editions of the Olympics, their failure this time is definitely a cause for concern, more so since the squad this time featured the likes of Pandelela Rinong, Cheong Jun Hoong, Nur Dhabitah Sabri, Leong Mun Yee and Ng Yan Yee.
Pandelela, who came here with the biggest reputation, having won two Olympic medals as well as the gold medal at the 2021 FINA Diving World Cup in May, failed to shine in both the events she competed in at the Tokyo Olympics.
In the women’s 10-metre (m) platform individual final at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Thursday (Aug 5), Pandelela paid the price for a poorly executed first dive to finish last among 12 divers.
Pandelela suffered the same fate when she and Leong Mun Yee finished eighth — and last — in the women’s 10m platform synchronised final on July 27.
Jun Hoong, the 2017 world champion who was a last-minute inclusion for the Tokyo Olympics, also failed to produce a surprise after finishing 26th out of 30 divers in the preliminary round of the women’s 10m platform individual.
Yan Yee too performed well below-par after finishing 20th to miss out on the women’s 3m springboard individual final.
However, kudos to Nur Dhabitah for her fourth placing in the women’s 3m springboard individual final.
The 22-year-old performed consistently in every one of her five dives but it just wasn’t enough for a podium finish.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican felt that the diving squad did well in the 3m springboard event but not in the 10m platform individual and synchronised events.
“Diving had the prospect to contribute a medal, unfortunately, we did not achieve our target.
“Although we had good results (in diving), such as the one achieved by Dhabitah, we failed to meet the set targets in the 10m platform individual and synchronised events,” he said in a video clip shared with the media by the Youth and Sports Ministry.
He said he also had the opportunity to have a chat with Pandelela and Jun Hoong, adding that both the divers were disappointed with their performances and apologised for not meeting the stipulated targets.
“But, as the Youth and Sports Minister, I witnessed first-hand their determination in doing the best they could,” he said.
Pandelela became the country’s first diver to win an Olympic medal when she bagged the 10m platform individual bronze at the 2012 London Games.
And four years later, at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the Kuching-born Pandelela partnered Jun Hoong to clinch the women’s 10m platform synchronised silver medal. – Bernama