STAMPING HER MARK: Nur Dhabitah comes of age on the senior stage
NUR Dhabitah Sabri marked her senior international debut by becoming the youngest winner at the inaugural Southeast Asian Diving Championships which ended on Monday at the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex in Singapore.
The 13-year-old first edged Indonesia's Sea Games bronze medallist Sari Ambarwati for the women's 3-metre springboard title before turning in a flawless performance in the 1m springboard event to win her second gold.
Nur Dhabitah's exploits helped the national back-up squad become overall champions with a haul of six gold, four silver and two bronze medals.
It is an encouraging performance as the youngsters were competing against senior divers from Indonesia and Singapore.
The Olympic-bound divers could not compete at the meet as they are in Dali, China for a training stint.
The back-up divers are being prepared to replace their seniors for the 2015 Sea Games and the 2016 Olympics.
Nur Dhabitah, who will represent the Federal Territories in next month's Malaysia Games in Pahang, started off as a swimmer at the age of seven before switching to diving a year later and she has never looked back.
She was first spotted at the 2008 Malaysia Games, where she and Loh Zhia Yi were among the youngest medal winners at the meet when they took bronze in the springboard synchro.
In Singapore, she impressed the judges with her graceful dives to earn 240.75 points ahead of silver medallist Sari (237.70) and compatriot Adeline Chin (224.45) in the springboard.
Nur Dhabitah followed up with a second title in the 1m springboard, a non-Olympic discipline, by posting 220.20 points followed by Adeline (206.65) and Singapore's Fong Kay Yian (188.65).
Despite the impressive results, Nur Dhabitah said it was the first step towards the future.
"I still have a lot to learn but I hope that in the future I will get a chance to compete in major events like my idol Bryan Nickson Lomas," said Nur Dhabitah, who comes from a family of divers, yesterday.
Her elder brother, Muhammad Danial was also in Singapore but could only manage silver in the men's springboard synchro with Muhammad Nazreen.