Nur Dhabitah claims first gold medal of 2022 SEA Games in Hanoi as Pandelela Rinong deals with near miss and luggage issues

Malaysia's star diver opened the event with victory, as the nation aims to sweep the South East Asian Games diving titles in Vietnam

By Ken Browne

Start as you mean to go on they say, and Nur Dhabitah has done exactly that, claiming the very first gold medal of the South East Asian (SEA) Games 2021 (Postponed to 2022) in Hanoi, Vietnam.

While the official Opening Ceremony doesn't happen until Thursday 12 May, the action is already underway, with football, beach handball, and diving in action.

Diving gave us these Games' opening medal on Sunday (8 May) as Dhabitah topped the first podium in the women's 1m springboard.

She racked up 290.45 points for five dives at the My Dinh Aquatic Centre in Hanoi, and it was a Malaysian 1-2 as Kimberly Bong finished second on 230 points.

And the hosts also had their first podium in the maiden event, Vietnam's Ngo Phuong Mai finishing third with 224 points.

Before the Games in Hanoi, Malaysia's diving coach Li Rui from China set out an ambitious goal of sweeping every single diving gold medal available at the SEA Games, and things went to plan on the first day of medals as Malaysia also claimed the men's 3m springboard.

In the second of two events on Sunday the top of the podium belonged to Malaysia once more as Ooi Tze Liang and Chew Yiwei emerged victorious in the men's 3m synchro springboard.

Pandelela Rinong and Nur Dhabitah 10m diving SEA Games 2022

The Malaysian team's quest to take home all of the diving titles continues, and Nur Dhabitah will be in action again as she pairs up with two-time Olympic medallist Pandelela Rinong in the 10m synchro.

When does Pandelela compete at the 2022 SEA Games?

Rinong claimed the 10m platform and the team gold medal in front of an adoring home crowd at the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, and is aiming at more success in Hanoi.

Pandelela has had a couple of trials of late, first a raised toilet tank smashed to ground in a bathroom, leaving her with some cuts on her foot in mid-April in an accident that could have been much worse. Then the wheels on her luggage broke on her way to Hanoi.

But fans expect this experienced diver to overcome these obstacles and bring another world-class performance in the Vietnamese capital.

Look out for her and Dhabitah in the women's 10m synchronised platform competition on Wednesday 11 May.

Diving at the SEA Games 2021 (In 2022) runs from Sun 8 May – Wed 11 May. For a preview, schedule, and stars to watch at the SEA Games click here.

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