Without Chinese representatives in the event at this FINA Diving World Cup – the Asian nation made the 1-2 at the 2019 Worlds in Gwangju, thus obtaining its Olympic spots – the final of the women’s 10m platform today in Tokyo was quite open.

Held immediately after the semis, the divers appeared to be tired in the decisive five-round final, and the victory rewarded not so much the excellence but rather the consistency. And the strongest in this field was Malaysia’s Pandelela Pamg, World Cup champion in 355.70 points. 

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Pamg, holder of two Olympic and five medals at the FINA World Championships, was especially strong in her second (back 2 ½ somersaults, 75.40) and fourth (inward 3 ½ somersaults, 76.80) combination, two decisive moments for the final outcome of the competition. Her advantage entering the last round was even sufficient to allow a short entry in her final dive, a back 2 ½ somersaults with 1 ½ twists (pike). The Malaysian star, national hero after her bronze medal in this event at the 2012 Olympics, had also ensured her qualification for the Tokyo Games in Gwangju (she was fifth then), but demonstrated today at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre that she is in shape after a difficult year and that her main challengers can count on her this upcoming summer in the Japanese capital.

Behind Pamg, the fight for the silver medal was also clearly won by Japan’s Matsuri Arai, very safe on her dives and also displaying solid nerves. Fifth after the semis, Arai did not make any major mistake and, despite not presenting a very difficult programme in terms of DD, executed quite well her five combinations. In the end, she totaled 342.00, earning the first medal for the host country in this World Cup (she had been ninth at the 2019 FINA World Championships).

The bronze ended up, after a thrilling last round, in the hands of Canada’s Caeli McKay, in 338.55. Fifth entering the final dive, the North American performed a superb back 2 ½ somersaults with 1 ½ twists (pike), earning 81.60 from the judges. Andrea Spendolini Sirieix, from Great Britain, third before the decisive round, could only score 73.60 for the same combination, while Sarah Jodoin di Maria, from Italy, fourth before the last dive, was even worse, with 67.20. The British then concluded in fourth overall (333.90), while the Italian had to content with the fifth position (324.65).

For McKay, it was the second medal in this World Cup, after the gold with teammate Meaghan Benfeito in the 10m platform synchro event.





Gold medal, Pandelela Pamg (MAS)

"I feel very happy that I was more consistent in the final. In the prelims, I made three errors in my dive and in the semi-final, I made two mistakes, so it feels great that I can make it consistent in the final. Of course I want to be in the podium at the Olympics but I also want to do my personal best in both the synchronised and individual event".
"This venue is very big, but I like this kind of indoor pools. I wish Malaysia could have an indoor pool one day. Pools in Malaysia just have a roof so every time it's raining it heavily affects our training. This kind of pool is very comfortable as you can adjust the temperature".
"I feel very safe here. I wish I could go out but I understand the rules. As long as we are take all the precautions, then we can keep everyone safe".

Silver medal, Matsuri Arai (JPN)

"I've been practicing with the goal of getting the medal in this competition, so I'm very happy with the silver medal. Once I reach the final, all I have to do is to deliver my full power. I believed in myself and did my best".
"I think the Olympics will be very tough as there will be more divers than in this competition, including the Chinese. I will continue to practice in order to perform without regrets at the Olympic Games. My goal is to win a medal".
"The venue has a very high ceiling, and when I stood on the 10m platform, I felt a different atmosphere from other venues. Besides, I think it's a beautiful venue with clear black and white".
"It was my first time to live in a bubble, and I did a lot of PCR tests. The official practice before the competition is also divided into groups, and there are few opportunities to interact with divers from other countries, so I feel a little lonely - but safe. I think it was a very good and safe competition for all divers".

Bronze medal, Caeli McKay (CAN)

"I'm really happy, finishing on the podium, it's one of my first times being on the podium for individual. I've been on it at a Grand Prix meet before but this is my first major individual medal so I'm very happy. I feel like I could have dived better. My first dive in of the final was quite very bad, and I wasn't happy with it at all. But I'm really happy with keeping it together throughout the event and being able to come back and do some really good dives afterwards".
"My goals for the Olympics: in synchro would be to medal for sure and for the individual I'm shooting for a medal as well. But to be there is just an experience in itself".
"I feel really safe. I'm starting to feel safer every day, and I know that the measures that we're taking are for all of our best interests and I think that everything's working well".