Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gymnast Wendy finds her calling in diving

RHYTHMIC gymnastics was in her blood when she first started out in sports but that’s history.

Now, it’s diving that makes the adrenaline flow for Wendy Ng Yan Yee, especially after making a perfect SEA Games debut at the Natio­­nal Sports Complex yesterday.

The 16-year-old partnered Leong Mun Yee to win the women’s 3m springboard synchronised event to take the team’s final gold medal tally to six.

The new pair chalked up 294.72 points to defend the title for Malaysia. Indonesians Marie Nathalie Dinda-Sari Ambarwati tried to come back in the last two dives but to no avail, settling for the silver medal on 258.45.

It was the second gold for Mun Yee, who had partnered Pandelela Rinong to win the women’s 10m platform synchronised event on Sunday.

Mun Yee partnered former world junior champion Elizabeth Jimie to win the 3m springboard synchronised gold medal at the last Games in Korat two years ago and it was Wendy’s turn to bask in the spotlight in Vientiane.

“I was a bit nervous at first as this was only the second time I am diving with Mun Yee after the Asian Championships in China last month,” said the Kuala Lumpur-born lass, who was roped into the national squad three years ago.

“However, the coach (Yang Zhu­liang) did not put pressure on us and told us to relax and do what we had always done in training. I’m happy to get the gold in my first SEA Games.”

Wendy had a rough introduction to the sport as she was thrown into the pool by Zhuliang when she joined the national programme.

“I was not so good in swimming as I was a rhythmic gymnast before but the coach picked me as he felt I could do well as a diver,” she said.

“It was hard for me in the early stages but, after this, I hope to maintain my performance and hopefully gain a place in the team for the Asian and Commonwealth Games next year.”

Malaysia withdrew the pair of Bryan Nickson-Abdul Rashid from the men’s 10m platform synchronised competition yesterday.

The only other gold not won by a Malaysian diver was in the women’s 3m springboard individual where Mun Yee settled for a bronze.

The six gold-haul by the team is still impressive, considering that Malaysia lost the chance to defend two titles because the men’s and women’s 1m springboard individual events were dropped from the programme.

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