PANDELELA’S FORM TAKES A DIVE

But coach Zhu­liang stands by her de­spite poor re­sults in World Se­ries

New Straits Times - - Sport - AJITPAL SINGH ajit­pals­ingh@nst.com.my

NA­TIONAL div­ing coach Yang Zhu­liang has come to Pandelela Ri­nong’s de­fence over her poor form in the women’s 10m plat­form in­di­vid­ual event of late.

Pandelela failed to reach the fi­nal for the sec­ond straight week af­ter fin­ish­ing only fifth in the first semi-fi­nal group in the Guangzhou leg of the World Se­ries yesterday.

The Sarawakian, who took bronze with Cheong Jun Hoong in the plat­form syn­chro event on Thurs­day, was on tar­get for the fi­nal af­ter scor­ing 70.50, 71.05 and 72.00 in her open­ing three dives.

How­ever, she flopped her fourth dive with 52.80 points and slipped two rungs to fourth.

Pandelela scored 72.00 in the fi­nal dive for a 338.35 to­tal but it was not enough as she fin­ished fourth be­hind North Korean Kim Mi Rae, who posted 339.40 points.

Last week, she also failed to make the fi­nal in the Bei­jing leg of the se­ries.

Rus­sian Iuliia Ti­moshin­ina posted 340.20 points to join reign­ing world cham­pion Kim Kuk Hyang of North Korea (353.95) and Rio Olympics cham­pion Ren Qian of China (367.90) as the three qual­i­fiers from the first semi-fi­nal group.

Com­pa­triot Nur Dhabitah Sabri also missed the cut by fin­ish­ing fourth in the sec­ond semifinal group with a 302.10 se­ries.

De­spite Pandelela’s fail­ure, Zhu­liang said he is sat­is­fied with her progress.

“Pandelela took a break from div­ing af­ter the Rio Olympics to fo­cus on re­cov­ery and ex­am­i­na­tions. She only started se­ri­ous train­ing af­ter Chi­nese New Year in China,” said Zhu­liang when con­tacted in Guangzhou yesterday.

“I am sat­is­fied with the per­for­mances of Pandelela, Jun Hoong, Wendy Ng and Dhabitah. They are mak­ing progress as their per­for­mances here were bet­ter than in Bei­jing.

“I am con­fi­dent they will make fur­ther progress for the World Cham­pi­onships in Hun­gary in July and the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games the fol­low­ing month.

“It is im­por­tant that they re­main fit and free of in­juries for the cur­rent sea­son.”

Pandelela’s last suc­cess in the plat­form in­di­vid­ual event was win­ning bronze in the world meet in Kazan, Rus­sia, in 2015.

The pres­ti­gious world se­ries has two re­main­ing legs in Rus­sia on March 31-April 2 and Canada on April 21-23.

The divers will re­turn to Kuala Lumpur to­day to con­tinue their train­ing.

Pandelela failed to reach the fi­nal of the World Se­ries for the sec­ond straight week .

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