KUALA LUMPUR: National diver Pandelela Rinong splashed her way to the gold medal in the women’s 10m platform at the FINA Diving World Cup 2021 on Wednesday.
Pandelela amassed 355.70 points to win the final at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre in Japan.
The 28-year-old Sarawakian became the only athlete to contribute a medal to the Malaysian contingent in the five-day tournament, which will end tomorrow.
Matsuri Arai of Japan won the silver after garnering 342.00 points while Canada’s Caeli Mckay took home the bronze medal with 338.55 points.
Pandelela bettered her record in the final after being ranked third in the semi-finals with 333.00 points, behind Caeli with 343.85 points and Andrea Spendolini Siriex in second place with 336.30 points.
Pandelela’s stunning victory caught the attention of Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, who was quick to congratulate her via Twitter and Facebook.
“Defied the odds and now she stands at the top of the podium! Tahniah @Pandelela_R !! Kejayaan ini terus menyemarakkan semangat kita semua sebelum acara yang terbesar tahun ini. So so proud of you Pandelela #DemiMalaysia #KontinjenMalaysia,” he said.
Meanwhile, former world champion Cheong Jun Hoong suffered a steep decline as she finished last place in the semifinal with 237.35 points, compared to Tuesday’s action where she topped the chart of the preliminary round after collecting 345.30 points
However, Jun Hoong still has a reason to smile as she accomplished her main mission of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics based on her performance in the preliminary round.
Pandelela, Leong Mun Yee, Wendy Ng Yan Yee and Nur Dhabitah Sabri have also qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to be held from July 23 to Aug 8.
Pandelela said she was glad to have achieved more consistency in the final compared to the two previous rounds, in which she made three errors in the preliminary round and two more in the semi-finals.
“Of course I want to be on the podium at the Olympics, but I also want to do my personal best in both the synchronised and individual event,” she added.
She was also impressed with the venue and hoped Malaysia would have an indoor pool one day as pools in the country just have a roof and that would probably affect training on rainy days.
“This kind of pool is very comfortable as you can adjust the temperature,” she said on the FINA (International Swimming Federation) official website. — Bernama