POOR: Pandelela, Jun Hoong pay dearly and finish last
FIRST impressions count, as Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong discovered at the Aquatics Centre in London yesterday.
Their poor first dive in the 3m springboard syncho resulted in the pair finishing last in the field of eight as it left the jury unimpressed and the Malaysians with a heavy task in their remaining four attempts.
"In diving, it is very important to impress the judges from the start but unfortunately, Pandelela and Jun Hoong failed to do that," said coach Yang Zhulliang.
Although Malaysia had not targeted a medal from the duo, they were expected to mount a stronger challenge but the first foray into the pool, a forward dive with 2.0 degree of difficulty, netted them only a score of 46.20, which immediately placed them last.
Pandelela said nerves played a part in their poor performance.
"We were very nervous and this affected our concentration and the dive and once we were in eighth position, we knew that it would be very hard to make an impact," said Pandelela.
To their credit, the pair improved after that, scoring 47.40, 54.00, a high 71.10 and 64.50 to finish with 283.50 points.
"Our confidence grew as the competition progressed but it was too late for us to catch up. Still, this is the first time Malaysia have featured in the 3m springboard synchro and considering that Jun Hoong and I haven't really been partnering each other for long, I suppose we did okay," added Pandelela.
Gold, as expected, was won by China's He Zi-Wu Minxia while silver and bronze went to Americans Kelci Bryant-Abigail Johnston and Jennifer Abel-Emilie Heymans of Canada respectively.
Pandelela's job is only just starting though as she has the 10m platform synchro with Leong Mun Yee tomorrow.
This is an event that officials believe will deliver a medal for Malaysia andf the Sarawakian, the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Youth Olympics silver medallist in the 10m platform individual, said she is looking forward to the competition.
"Mun Yee and I have been partnering each other for a while now and we are feeling good, Anything can happen on competition day but I am confident nerves won't play a part, as they did today."
Malaysia came into the Olympics believing that sports other than badminton would also deliver to the nation's haul and Pandelela and Mun Yee must make sure the dream is realised.
TODAY’S GOLD MEDAL EVENTS
ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS: Men’s team event
DIVING: Men’s 10m synchro
FENCING: Women’s individual epee.
JUDO: Men’s -73kg and women’s -57kg.
SHOOTING: Men’s 10m air rifle.
SWIMMING: Men’s 200m freestyle, men’s 100m backstroke, women’s 200m freestyle, women’s 100m backstroke.
WEIGHTLIFTING: Men’s 62kg, women’s 58kg.
MALAYSIANS IN ACTION
TODAY — ARCHERY: Haziq Kamaruddin v Denis Gankin (Kaz); Men’s individual, elimination (5.15pm)
BADMINTON: Lee Chong Wei v Ville Lang (Fin)
Men’s singles, group stage
Tee Jing Yi v Agnese Allegrini (Ita)
Women’s singles, group stage
SAILING: Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy
Men’s laser, Races 1 & 2 (7pm)
• All Malaysian time