Malaysia’s Olympic medal hunt begins today

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MALAYSIA hope today to win their first Olympic medal, since the Tokyo Games started on Friday, through divers Pandelela Rinong and Leong Mun Yee.


The country is looking at the duo to finish on the podium in the women’s 10m platform synchro at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

Though Pandelela-Mun Yee appeared rusty at the Diving World Cup earlier this year where they finished fourth, their vast experience should see them being among the medal contenders.

Pandelela, 28, and Mun Yee, 36, however, cannot afford any mistakes as they will be up against the world’s best, including young and emerging stars.

Defending champions China will again be the hot favourites, spearheaded by 2019 world champions Chen Yuxi and Zhang Jiaqi who are only 15 and 17 respectively.

However, the lack of international competitions over the last 18 months has made it hard to gauge the competition.

After mighty China, the form book suggests that Canada are likely to be among the top contenders.

Leading the Maple Leaf challenge is veteran Meaghan Benfeito, who together with the now-retired Roseline Filion, won bronze behind Pandelela and Cheong Jun Hoong at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Meaghan, 32, will this time partner Caeli McKay, 22. The duo have already tasted success, winning silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, gold at the 2019 Pan America Games and gold at the Diving World Cup in May.

Great Britain pair Lois Toulson, 21, and Eden Cheng, 18, will also be among those to watch out for following their impressive performance en route to silver at this year’s Diving World Cup.


The Americans will also be among the contenders in the 10m platform individual through 2019 World Championships bronze medallist Delaney Schnell, 22 and Jessica Parratto, 27.

The evergreen Mun Yee will be making a Malaysian-record fifth appearance at the Olympiad, and all that is missing from her long list of achievements is an Olympic medal.

The Perakian hopes to finally complete her achievements today with a medal in what is likely to be her last Olympic outing.

“My goal is to win a medal, and that is what we have been working towards,” said Mun Yee.

“Our performances have been improving and we are now at optimum level. What is important now is focus and consistency.”

Mun Yee reunited with Pandelela in 2019 as a replacement for Jun Hoong who has struggled with injuries. They went on to win silver at the Gwangju World Championships that year.

In retrospect, it was Pandelela-Mun Yee who started Malaysia’s rise as a diving power with their successes in winning medals in major competitions, beginning with a bronze in the 2009 World Championships in Rome.

For Pandelela, a podium finish in Tokyo will also complete a hat-trick of medals across three Olympics: London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.

If Pandelela-Mun Yee win a medal today, it will certainly fire up the fighting spirits of the Malaysian contingent in Japan for more.-NST