Pandelela-Dhabitah must be in sync to grab one of four Olympic synchro spots left

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KUALA LUMPUR: National diving queen Datuk Pandelela Rinong has one last chance to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games after her failure in the individual event at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar yesterday.

Pandelela’s failure to advance to the semi-finals of the 10m platform individual preliminary round resulted in her missing out on an Olympic spot.

But all is not lost as she can still head to Paris if she and her partner, Nur Dhabitah Sabri, can get their A game going in the women’s 10m platform synchronised event in Doha tomorrow.

And national diving technical director Bryan Nickson Lomas is on pins and needles as Pandelela, 30, and Nur Dhabitah, 24, vie for one of the four remaining spots in Doha since divers from France, China, Great Britain and the United States have already secured the other four tickets to Paris 2024.

“A lot of things didn’t go as planned for Pandelela in the individual event yesterday. Although she started really well with the first dive, I think she didn’t get a good rotation rhythm for some of the dives.

“Anyhow, she has one more chance in the synchro with Dhabitah, hope they can qualify. I am sure as a senior diver, Pandelela will adjust and focus for the next event,” the former Asian and Commonwealth Games medallist told Bernama.

Bryan, however, admitted that it would be an uphill task for the duo, especially after Nur Dhabitah suffered a minor tricep injury before arriving in Doha.

“We want to push for the Olympic spot. It’s going to be tough but we will fight for it,” he added.

Yesterday, two-time Olympic medallist Pandelela missed the semi-finals after only managing to secure 29th place with 231.15 points in the women’s 10m platform individual, trailing 204.05 points behind reigning world champion Chen Yuxi (435.20 points).

Malaysia’s other representative, Nur Eilisha Rania Abrar Raj ended up in 44th place out of 46 divers in the event with 167.55 points.

Only the top 18 divers from the preliminary round advanced to today’s semi-finals and they will fight for the 12 Olympic tickets on offer in Doha. The top 12 divers from the 2023 Fukuoka World Championships have already qualified for Paris 2024

Pandelela, who bagged the women’s 10m platform individual bronze in the 2012 London Olympics and 10m platform synchronised silver with Cheong Jun Hoong at the 2016 Rio Olympics, is hoping for a fifth consecutive Olympic appearance since making her debut at the 2008 Beijing edition. -Bernama

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