SEPANG, Feb 12 — National diving queen Datuk Pandelela Rinong believes she has no choice but to continue representing the country for one simple reason: the backup divers are not up to scratch yet.
Despite failing to win a ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics after some below-par performances in the recently concluded World Aquatics Championship in Doha, Qatar, the 30-year-old said she has no intention of calling it quits yet.
“For us (veterans), we can quit if we want to but our juniors must be able to do better than us. Only then will they stand a chance to take on divers from other countries.
“I dare say that for my event (10-metre platform), the gap is still wide. Right now, I have to see the junior divers first... my role now is to fill the vacancy in the team,” she told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here today.
Pandelela, who won silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics, failed to qualify for Paris 2024 after making an early exit in the women’s 10m platform individual and finishing 12th in the women’s 10m platform synchronised with Nur Dhabitah Sabri.
Pandelela also called on the diving development programme to be further strengthened to unearth a solid group of backups for the future.
She said she had raised this matter before when women’s diving was dropped from the Malaysia Games (Sukma), but it was as if the authorities had just turned a deaf ear to her warning.
Meanwhile, Nur Dhabitah admitted that the tricep injury she sustained on the first day of training in Doha hampered her performance at the world meet.
“I suffered a pulled triceps muscle and couldn’t even hug my legs. It happened on the first day of training in Doha. To make it worse, the water (in the pool) was cold, (as) they did not provide hot water for divers,” she said.
Besides a disappointing outing with Pandelela, Nur Dhabitah also performed dismally in her pet event, the 3m springboard individual, after finishing in 24th spot with 238.15 points.
In the 3m springboard synchronised, Nur Dhabitah and Wendy Ng Yan Yee could only accumulate 258.30 points to be placed ninth and miss out on a place in the final. — Bernama