The fast-improving women’s 3m springboard pairing of Cheong Jun Hoong-Wendy Ng Yan Yee are proving to be worthy contenders as well.
Jun Hoong-Wendy bagged a bronze in the 3m springboard on the final day of the FINA United States Diving Grand Prix in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.
It was their third medal in as many competitions – and their first at the Grand Prix level.
The duo had also claimed bronze in the prestigious Diving World Series legs of Edinburgh and Moscow last month.
Jun Hoong-Wendy chalked up 282.90 points to finish third behind China’s Zhang Jun-Qu Lin (311.40) and Ukraine’s Anna Pymenska-Olena Fedorova (293.70).
A total of nine pairs competed and the Malaysian duo had their work cut out for them.
There was no sign of a medal at one stage – when they were placed a lowly seventh after the third round.
Jun Hoong-Wendy, however, found themselves in medal contention by the end of the fourth attempt – a superb dive of 71.10 points enabled them to climb up four rungs to third.
But they could only garner 61.20 in the final dive.
Fortunately, their closest rivals – Italy’s Tania Cagnotto-Francesca Dallape, who finished fourth in last year’s Olympics, and Japan’s Sayaka Shibusawa-Mai Nakagawa – also flopped in their final attempts.
Jun Hoong-Wendy’s good run on the international stage has prompted head coach Yang Zhuliang to rethink his plans.
Zhuliang had earlier wanted London Olympics bronze medallist Pandelela to do triple duty at the World Championships in Barcelona in July.
He was planning to pair up Pandelela, who will already assume a double role in the platform discipline – with her London Olympics partner Jun Hoong once more for the women’s 3m springboard synchro at the world meet.
The move was aimed at boosting Malaysia chances of winning a medal at the world meet.
But Wendy has proven that she is not the weak link in the partnership.
“Their performances will certainly help raise their profiles in the international scene. They can do well at the world meet ... we’re hoping for a top-six finish at least as that will help the country earn a place in the Diving World Series next year,” said Zhuliang.
Pandelela-Mun Yee took silver in the women’s 10m platform synchro on Saturday. The divers will now head for Guadalajara, Mexico, for the fifth leg of the Diving World Series this weekend.