Malaysian diving legend Pandelela Pamg was the star of the final stop of the FINA Diving Grand Prix, held in Kuala Lumpur. The two-time Olympic and seven-time FINA World Championship medallist claimed the individual and the synchro titles in the platform – in the latter event she teamed up with Nurdhabitah Sabri who bagged three golds altogether, all in synchro events.
Altogether, the Malaysian hosts kept eight golds at home during the FINA Diving Grand Prix 2022, while Korea and Australia clinched one apiece in the last senior diving major of the season.
Pandelela Pamg is a living legend in Malaysia. She added several chapters to the country’s history books – back in 2009 she delivered the nation’s first-ever medal at the 13th FINA World Championships with Leong Mun Yee in the 10m synchro in Rome, then in 2015 she claimed the first individual podium while finishing third in Kazan in the 10m event.
Between the two, she earned a bronze at the London 2012 Games to become Malaysia’s first female athlete ever to win an Olympic medal. Four years later she added a silver at the Rio 2016 Olympics and this June she managed to get two bronzes in Budapest to bring her FINA World Championship medal tally to seven medals; 13 years after her breakthrough she still belongs to the world elite.
And she has just justified that in the past weekend as she bettered the field in the platform individual final, gaining 24 points on runner-up Milly Puckeridge of Australia. Later she teamed up with Nur Dhabitah Sabri to bag the 10m synchro as well.
Sabri was busy during the event as she also had to perform ten more dives, five in the women’s 3m synchro, with Ng Yan Yee, and another five in the 3m mixed synchro with Muhammad Syafiq Puteh. All went well – Sabri came off with three golds, the best individual feat of the meet.
Forget perfection.— The Olympic Games (@Olympics) November 25, 2022
Malaysian diver Nur Dhabitah Sabri has. 🇲🇾💪
💬 "I think what’s most important is to make yourself proud, even if I don’t make a perfect dive but I still feel happy, it’s more than enough for me."@fina1908 | @olympicmas | #Divinghttps://t.co/dYFsOhXPlF
Speaking to local news outlet Bernama, Sabri expressed her satisfaction that all her hard work paid off even though she had only undergone intensive training for the tournament a week ago.
"I am very happy but to be honest it’s tiring because it’s my first time competing in three events in a day and I’m just recovering from back injury. A month ago, I didn’t train much just a week before the competition I went all out. And actually, there is pressure even though in two events there were no contenders from other countries, but we had to do everything as normal. Everything when well today although I still have a back injury and Muhammad Syafiq has just recovered from illness,” Nurdhabitah said.
"I am very happy but to be honest it’s tiring because it’s my first time competing in three events in a day and I’m just recovering from back injury. A month ago, I didn’t train much just a week before the competition I went all out. And actually, there is pressure even though in two events there were no contenders from other countries, but we had to do everything as normal."
As for the other events, the higher degree of difficulty dives saved the day for the men individual winners. In the 3m final, two Malaysian divers Ooi Tze Liang and Chew Yi Wei fought for the top rank and even though Wei’s marks were better in at least three rounds, but Liang’s had a much more difficult programme, and the higher DDs made the difference – he won by almost 35 points. The two later teamed up to win the synchro event with a fine performance.
In the platform, Jellson Jabillin, also from Malaysia, could keep the title at home in the magnificent outdoor settings despite a badly missed back 3½ somersaults. But his five other dives were all superb, he received 9.0s and 9.5s and his higher DDs built a massive 35-point gap by the end, ahead of Mohamed Farouk, though the Egyptian didn’t have any faulty attempts.
Still, how it all started tells the story: Farouk’s first dive was a 1.9DD reverse dive, he did it well, and got a series of 8.0s, just like Jabilin, but the Malaysian kicked off his campaign with a forward 3 ½ somersaults (3.0DD), besides the 8.0s he also had a couple of 8.5s and jumped 30 points ahead right away. Jabillin copied Rinong’s feat as he also added the syncho title, with Enrique Harold.
The two events where the hosts had to settle for the runner-up positions were the women’s 3m individual final and the 10m mixed synchro. Among the ladies, Aussie Alysha Koloi came up with the most balanced performance – she had one mediocre attempt while Ong Ker Ying’s second one clearly went wrong and that cost her the title. In the mixed platform Korea’s Minhyuk Kang and Nahyun Kim won the closest duel of the meet, edging out Hanis Nazirul and Elisha Rania by 7.5 points at the end.