GOLD COAST: Malaysia had a reigning world champion in Cheong Jun Hoong and a former Commonwealth Games gold medalist in Pandelela Rinong in the women’s 10m platform today (Thursday), but yet both failed to make the podium at the Optus Aquatic Centre.
But the good news is that the divers are enjoying the sport more under interim head coach Zhang Yukun and assistant trainer Christian Brooker.
Zhang Yukun took over from Yang Zhuliang, whose contract was not extended, late last year while Brooker was hired in January.
Pandelela was a whisker away from winning a bronze or silver, but a poor fifth dive saw her finishing fourth with a total of 340.20 points, one rung above Jun Hoong who posted 332.85 points.
Newcomer Kimberly Bong finished 10th with a five-dive total of 294.20 points.
Hopes were high for Pandelela and Jun Hoong in the final, as they finished first and second respectively in the qualifying round.
Australia's Melissa Wu won gold with 360.40, followed by Canada's Meaghan Benfeito (359.75) and England's Lois Toulson (344.20).
"I am now starting to love diving even more, ever since I embraced sports science (under the new coaching staff). In the past, I would cry (if I had failed), but now I accept it and look forward to improve myself," said Pandelela, who has not won an individual medal since taking bronze at the 2015 Kazan world meet.
"The coaches keep things emotionally balanced now.
"Of course, I am disappointed after winning gold (in 2010 New Delhi) and silver (in 2014 Glasgow), but this is normal in sport... it doesn't matter, as long you do not give up. I did not do well in my first and fifth dives today (Thursday).
"I have to accept that my rivals performed better. Maybe, we did not recover well enough after winning yesterday's platform synchro event, so our momentum probably dropped today (Thursday)."
Jun Hoong, who won last year's 10m world title, said: "It is my best performance since the world meet, so I am quite happy though things would have been different had I done better in my first and third dives.
"I have injuries but things are under control. I normally do not think about injuries in competitions," said Jun Hoong.
As for Kimberly, she was just happy to compete with the best divers here.
"I did better in the final compared to the qualifying round. I was nervous but I enjoyed every dive. I am treating this as a learning experience.
"I still have events left and I will try to do better," said Kimberly.