“WE have done our very best, perhaps luck deserted us this time for a medal. We have no regrets,” national diving queen Pandelela Rinong said after the women’s 10 metre synchronised platform event at the Tokyo Olympic Games today.
Pandelela, 28, said everything went smoothly during the warm-up session at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre, but during the actual event with Leong Mun Yee, each of them made a mistake which eventually proved costly.
“We went into action without any pressure as we are used to such conditions but during the dive, it just went wrong slightly,” said the Sarawak-born diver.
Malaysians’ hopes of seeing Pandelela and Mun Yee contribute a medal took a dive after the pair could only complete the event in eighth position.
They could only score 277.98 points and failed to defend the silver medal won by Malaysia in the Rio 2016 edition.
The gold medal was won by Chinese divers Chen Yuxi and Zhang Jiaqi who scored 363.78 points.
In the Rio 2016 edition, Pandelela won a silver medal in the same event with Cheong Jun Hoong.
To make up for today’s disappointment, Pandelela said she would go all out in the 10-metre individual platform event on August 4.
“I am going to learn from this setback and will motivate myself to train better in the next few days and to remain mentally strong.
“I need to be consistent in each of my dives if I want to make the top three,” she said.
Mun Yee, 36, meanwhile acknowledged that Tokyo would be her final Olympic Games after her participation in the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012 editions.
She said the Covid-19 pandemic had to a certain extent affected preparations for the Tokyo Games.
“Our synchronisation was okay, but we both made mistakes in our dives and this affected our performance.
“Usually before we compete in the Olympics, we will have training camp overseas, but this time around we are unable to do so, and not many international competitions… (and) it affected our preparations slightly,” said Mun Yee.
Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, who was present to witness the action, said the national diving squad’s challenge in Tokyo was far from over.
He has high hopes that diving was still capable of contributing a medal through Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Ng Yan Yee in the preliminary round of the women’s individual 3m springboard event on Friday (July 30), and also Pandelela and Cheong Jun Hoong in the women’s individual 10m platform preliminary round.
“There were many surprises today (our) first two dives were very good, but unexpectedly, the divers from the United States and Mexico improved gradually, while the Chinese divers were in a class of their own.
“I hope Malaysians will remain patient and continue to support our athletes,” he said. — Bernama