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10 APRIL 2024

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Pandelela, Nur Dhabitah eye golden double at pool without China divers

 Pandelela Rinong and Nur Dhabitah Sabri stand  a good chance to win a few medals in Birmingham. - BERNAMA PIC

BIRMINGHAM: In the absence of traditional powerhouse China in the diving pool, Australia, Canada and England will pose a threat to Malaysian divers in their pursuit of medal glory at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Reigning World Cup champion Pandelela Rinong said divers from the three countries should be given due attention because they will provide a tough challenge in the hunt for medals when the competition kicks off at the Sandwell Aquatic Centre in Birmingham on Thursday.

While Malaysia's diving line-up have not changed much since the last Olympic cycle, the other Commonwealth countries are now grooming new divers and using the Games to prepare for the 2024 Paris Games.

This offers Malaysian divers a good chance to win a few medals in Birmingham.

And if the divers can bring home two titles, it will be their best ever effort at the Games.

"My focus now is to ensure the team and I give our best shot as there are countries (Australia, Canada and England) that will challenge in China's absence," she said on Friday.

The silver medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics and bronze at the 2012 London Olympics said her achievements at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary last month have motivated her to continue performing her best dives.

At the world meet, Pandelela managed to overcome challengers from the Commonwealth countries and won two bronze in the 10m individual platform and with teammate Nur Dhabitah Sabri, in the platform synchro.

In Budapest, Pandelela had to concede to the excellent showing of two young Chinese divers who won gold (Chen Yuxi) and silver (Quan Hongchan) in the platform individual. In the synchro, the gold was also won by Yuxi-Hongchan, while the silver went to the United States.

Canada's Caeli McKay-Meaghan Benfeito, who won the 2021 World Cup platform synchro gold, will not compete in Birmingham as the latter has retired.

"For me, the Commonwealth Games are not just any other competition. Based on my experience, anything can happen. I hope luck will be on my side and the team," said Pandelela.

The Olympic Council of Malaysia have set diving as one of the gold medal prospects in Birmingham.

The team's best haul of 1-2-1 was achieved at the 2014 Glasgow Games. - NST

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