Pandelela Rinong and Nur Dhabitah seal Malaysian diving clean sweep at SEA Games 

Gold in the women's 10m platform synchro for Pandelela and Dhabitah means Malaysia have won all eight gold medal finals at the 2022 South East Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam, 

By Ken Browne

Pandelela Rinong was all smiles with her 10m synchro partner Nur Dhabitah after they won the final diving event of the SEA Games in 2022 to complete an impressive clean sweep for Malaysia in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Victory in the women's 10m synchronised event on Wednesday (11 May) meant that eight out of eight gold medal finals went to Malaysian divers who asserted their dominance in the region once more.

Rinong and Dhabitah scored highest in all five dives posting 49.20, 48.90, 65.7, 64.32 and 64.32 for a total of 292.14 points to win ahead of Indonesia in second place and Vietnam in third.

"I'm very proud of my team," Pandelela told in Hanoi, "the target was actually quite stressful, not just for the athletes but also for the coaches, but we managed to get the eight golds and everyone is very happy."

"I think coach will give us a few days off holidays," she added, laughing, "maybe, maybe," said Dhabitah, hopefully.

Pandelela and Dhabitah to compete together at Paris 2024

Rinong gave Malaysia its first ever Olympic medal outside badminton and was the first female from her nation to win an Olympic medal at London 2012.

Her bronze in London was followed by silver at Rio 2016, and she was a big hope for a medal at Tokyo 2020 too, but things didn't pan out like that.

"I think the preparation wasn't that great actually because of the pandemic, like the two week quarantine in our country when we came back from competition so it affected our training, preparation, and also our momentum.

"But it's all in the past so I've moved forward, I've learned lessons and I use it as a motivation to improve myself mentally and physically.

When asked if she's now more determined for Paris 2024, she says:

"Definitely, I wish that I can do better and my luck will be better in Paris, god willing."

So will Paris be her final Olympic Games?

"Maybe, but for now I just want to focus on the present, just improve myself overall."

Dhabitah inspired by Pandelela

Nur Dhabitah has a famous smile in Malaysia and she's beaming when asked if she's inspired by Pandelela, as this team aims at the podium in Paris.

"I think we work together very well, we have a good chemistry," says Dhabitah, "I look forward to doing synchro in the future with her, we understand each other very well.

"I'm very very happy to have her as my synchro partner, and I'm very honoured because she is such a great diver."

'Lela' as the Malaysian team calls her, is also excited by the young risers in the Malaysian team.

Malaysia's diving team's golden sweep at the SEA Games in 2022

It began with Nur Dhabitah on Sunday 8 May when she set the tone by winning the opening event - women's 1m springboard.

On the same day Ooi Tze Liang and Chew Yiwei topped the men's 3m synchro, with Ooi doubling down a day later and bagging another gold in the men's 1m springboard.

Monday also saw Malaysia ace the women's 3m synchro, Ng Yan Yee and Ong Ker Yin triumphing in Hanoi's My Dinh Aquatics Center.

Tuesday (10 May) saw the team strike gold again in the women's 3m springboard, this time with the Ng-Ong synchro team competing against each other, and it was a Malaysian 1-2 as Ng topped the scoreboard with Ong behind her in silver medal position.

The men's 10m synchro came last late on Tuesday afternoon with the Jelson Jabillin / Hanis Nazirul duo keeping the golden standard.

When Malaysia's Syafiq Puteh won the 3m springboard, the golden sweep was on and Pandelela and Dhabitah didn't disappoint.

Malaysia's diving future looks secure

The Vietnam SEA Games also gave us a little glimpse at Malaysia's next gen with divers like Ong Ker Ying and Kimberley Bong making their Southeast Asian games debuts.

Bong won a silver medal behind Dhabitah in the women's 1m springboard, while Ong goes home with gold and silver in her pocket.

And they weren't the only ones to prove themselves on the continental stage, Bertand Rhodict bagged bronze in the men's 1m springboard.

Malaysia's current world-beating squad has a golden glow, and the future might be even brighter.


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