BREAKTHROUGH: Best ever finish in World Series with eight medalsTHE national divers recorded a breakthrough performance at the World Series, which concluded with the final leg in Guadalajara on Sunday, by finishing in the top three overall in three disciplines.
The achievement was Malaysia's best ever showing, ending the series -- which gathers the world's top eight ranked divers and pairs -- with eight medals.
A fourth place finish in the women's 10-metre platform was sufficient for Olympic bronze medallist Pandelela Rinong to repeat her runner-up performance from last season.
Pandelela, 20, produced a commendable performance by amassing 334.40 points but failed to make the podium by 1.80 points behind bronze medallist Tonia Couch of Britain.
China's Si Yajie posted 400.75 for the gold followed by Mexico's Alejandra Orozco on 384.65.
Although Pandelela managed only one bronze throughout the six-leg series, her consistency saw her finish second overall with 66 points behind Si Yajie (70).
She clinched bronze in the opening leg in Beijing and was fourth in the previous leg, also in Guadalajara, last weekend. Pandelela earned US$8,000 (RM24,000) for her efforts.
However, Pandelela needs to work harder if she hopes for a medal at the Barcelona World Championships in July.
The only reason she finished second was because the other established divers competed only in selected legs.
Si Yajie, who won four gold medals, is Pandelela's newest rival, the rest being China's Olympic and world champion Chen Ruolin, Canadian Meaghan Benfeito, Russia's Yulia Koltunova and Brittany Broben of Australia.
Pandelela and Leong Mun Yee also made a mark in the platform synchro discipline by finishing second overall.
Pandelela-Mun Yee, bronze medallists at the 2009 world meet in Rome, bagged three silver and one bronze from four legs to end with 126 points behind China (162) and Canada (99).
If the pair maintain their performance, they should finish on the podium in the world meet.
Wendy Ng Yan Yee-Cheong Jun Hoong also impressed by finishing third overall with 105 points behind China (162) and Ukraine (108).
Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia secretary Edwin Chong said the performance marked the divers' best ever achievement in the World Series since their debut in 2010.
"We managed medals in each leg except Dubai. It shows our divers are progressing accordingly ahead of the world meet."
The divers will now head to China for a training stint before the world meet.
Read more: DIVING: Good show in Guadalajara - Other - New Straits Times