PETALING JAYA: National diving queen Pandelela Rinong believes she has no choice but to continue representing the country until the national team’s backup divers are up to scratch.
Despite missing out on a spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics after some below-par performances at the recently concluded World Aquatics Championship in Doha, Qatar, the 30-year-old said she has no intention of calling it quits yet.
A 2016 Rio Olympics silver medallist, Pandelela was hoping for a fifth consecutive Olympics since her debut at the 2008 Beijing edition.
“For us (veterans), we can quit if we want to … But our juniors must be able to do better than us,” she said in a Bernama report.
“Only then will they stand a chance of taking on divers from other countries. I dare say that for my event ( 10m platform), the gap is still wide.”
She was speaking to reporters at KLIA after returning from Qatar.
Pandelela also called on the country’s diving programme to be further developed, stressing that this will be crucial in unearthing a solid group of divers for the future.
She said although she raised this matter when women’s diving was dropped from the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in 2022, her call was not heeded by the authorities.
Pandelela failed to qualify for Paris 2024 after making an early exit in the women’s 10m individual platform event in Doha, where she also finished 12th in the women’s 10m synchronised platform event with Nur Dhabitah Sabri.
Bernama reported that Dhabitah admitted the tricep injury she sustained on the first day of training in Doha hampered her performance at the world meet.
Besides a disappointing outing with Pandelela, Dhabitah also performed poorly in her pet event, the women’s 3m individual springboard, after finishing in 24th place with 238.15 points.
Competing in the women’s 3m synchronised springboard event, Dhabitah and Wendy Ng missed out on a place in the final.