By John Isaac
PANDELELA Rinong has etched her name into the history books by clinching Malaysia’s first-ever gold medal in the Diving World Cup.
The two-time Olympic medallist showed strong character and composure to beat her rivals with a 355.70 total to win the women’s 10m platform individual event at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
In the absence of China, Australia and North Korean divers, the opportunity was there for the 28-year-old to grab a first-ever podium win in diving.
And she didn’t disappoint as she finally put a smile on the faces of the Malaysian camp after a past few days of mediocre results.
According to the New Straits Times, Japan’s Matsuri Arai finished strongly with 342.00 for the silver, while Canada’s Caeli McKay snatched bronze with a huge effort in her last dive for a 338.55 total.
The day, however, belonged to Pandelela, a bronze medallist in the 2018 edition, who had earlier qualified from the semi-final in third spot with a score of 333.00.
Meanwhile, it was not the best ending for former world champion Cheong Jun Hoong who fell terribly short in the bid to qualify for the final.
The Perak-born, competing in her first competition since undergoing knee surgery in 2018, had qualified for the semi-final as the top-ranked diver.
But everything went wrong for the 31-year-old as she garnered only 237.35 points to finish 18th.
It is still a commendable effort for Jun Hoong who has already achieved her goal of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in July.