Tokyo Olympics: Pandelela, Leong struggle in last-place finish

Malaysian divers Leong Mun Yee and Pandelela Rinong during the women's synchronised 10m platform final at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Malaysian divers Leong Mun Yee and Pandelela Rinong during the women's synchronised 10m platform final at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. (PHOTO: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Reporting from Tokyo

TOKYO — The first of two medalling chances for Malaysian diver Pandelela Rinong ended in crushing disappointment, when she and Leong Mun Yee finished last in the field of eight in the women's synchronised 10m platform competition on Tuesday (28 July)

A fine start turned into a mighty struggle in the more difficult dives, as Pandelela and Leong finished with 277.98 points, 85.80 points away from the runaway gold-medal winners Chen Yuxi and Zhang Jiaqi of China (363.78 points).

The United States' Jessica Parratto and Delaney Schnell clinched the silver medal with 310.80 points, while Mexico's Gabriela Agundez Garcia and Alejandra Orozco Loza earned the bronze with 299.70 points.

Pandelela, 28, attributed their poor score to mistakes in their individual dives.

"Our synchronisation was okay, but each of us made mistakes in our own dives, and that was the main reason for us not doing well," she told Yahoo News Singapore at the mixed zone.

"We're very disappointed, but both of us put in our maximum efforts and we have no regrets."

The Sarawak native was seeking to become the second Malaysian athlete after shuttler Lee Chong Wei to finish among the medal spots three times.

She first stood on the podium at the 2012 London Games where she won a bronze medal in the women's individual 10m platform event. Four years later in Rio de Janeiro, she teamed up with Cheong Jun Hoong to clinch a silver in the women's synchronised 10m platform.

Another shot at medal for Pandelela next week

Pandelela has another shot at a podium place on 4 August, when she will compete in the women's individual 10m platform event.

"I have to try and pick myself up from this, get into a good state of mind for my next competition, and just try to be consistent with all my dives," she said.

For 36-year-old Leong, she admitted that this will be her final event after appearing in her fifth Olympics. She had previously competed in the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 editions.

Pandelela and Leong had secured their tickets to Tokyo after winning a silver medal in the women’s 10m synchronised platform at the 2019 Fina World Diving Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

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