Monday, December 14, 2009

Divers make it a perfect double

IT was again a perfect two gold medals out of two events contested at the diving pool in the 25th Sea Games in Laos yesterday for Malaysia.

After the expected women's 10m platform synchronised gold from World Championships bronze medallists Leong Mun Yee and Pandelela Rinong, the new pairing of Bryan Nickson Lomas and Yeoh Ken Nee got their act together in time to win the men's 3m springboard synchronised.

Mun Yee and Pandelela had each won their event with different partners previously -- Mun Yee with Rosatimah Mohamad in Kuala Lumpur in 2001 and Pandelela with Cheong Jun Hoong at the 2007 Games in Korat.

And there was little doubt about their prowess, even if they had a poor first dive which scored just 48.60 points, still sufficient to give them the lead right from the start as the other two pairs, Indonesia's Della Dinasari and Sari Ambarwati and Thailand's Sukruthai Tommaoros and Sutteenuch Putsadee battled for the silver.

"The competition wasn't very tough this time, but still I'm happy that we've managed to deliver the gold medal without any problems," said Pandelela, 16.

The nine-year age gap between the two doesn't seem to bother Mun Yee, who turned 24 on Dec 4, as she stated she will continue to work well with Pandelela and build on their highly successful combination.

"I think we can at least maintain this partnership until the 2012 Olympics in London. We're also looking at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games next year," said Mun Yee, who is from Ipoh.

Pandelela added that national coach Yang Zhuliang has promised to continue to build the diving squad. "He has said we can all go even further and from now on he will begin to move us up to a higher and higher level. We will look at China's divers as the benchmark and try our best to match them in the coming years," said Pandelela.

Ken Nee and Bryan weren't expecting to beat the established Filipino pairing of Nino Carog and Zardo Domenius in their event, having only competed together once before in the Asian Championships in China earlier this month and only got to train together for two weeks prior to the Sea Games.

But they managed a total of 406.20, after leading right from the first of their nine dives to deny Carog and Domenius the gold medal for the second time in a row, after Ken Nee and Rossharisham Roslan won the gold in Korat two years ago. NST

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