WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Lean Pandelela aims for a medal in Barcelona after tough training in Guangzhou
Pandelela Rinong will compete in three events at the World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona.
A FITTER Pandelela Rinong has declared her intention of becoming the first Malaysian champion at the World Aquatics Championships following a successful training stint in Guangzhou, China.
Pandelela will compete in three events -- 10-metre platform individual and synchro (with Leong Mun Yee), and 3m springboard synchro (Cheong Jun Hoong) -- in her third appearance in the world meet which starts on Friday, in Barcelona.
The championships will see the world's best gather together for the first time since the London Olympics.
Pandelela, who injured her ankle after the Olympics, had put on some weight but the Bidayuh-lass has lost the extra kilos, courtesy of regimented training in Guangzhou. She now looks like a well-oiled lean machine and is looking forward to making history in the world meet.
"Training was tough in Guangzhou as we were pushed to the limit for hours. I feel like a new person and hopefully, I can push harder in Barcelona," said Pandelela in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Despite taking bronze in the platform individual in the Olympics, Pandelela, 20, is not rated highly in Barcelona.
The Malaysian was inconsistent in the recent six-leg World Series, making the podium only once throughout the season. The only reason she finished second overall in the series was that the others only competed in selected events.
In Barcelona, the field will be stronger with China's two-time Olympic champion Chen Ruolin and newcomer Si Yajie along with London Games silver medallist Brittany Broben of Australia and Russia's Yulia Koltunova being Pandelela's rivals in the platform.
It will be tough and Pandelela must touch 370 points -- which she has not achieved this season -- if she hopes to finish on the podium.
The team, comprising Pandelela, Mun Yee, Jun Hoong, Wendy Ng, Traisy Vivien Tukiet, Ooi Tze Liang, Ahmad Amysar and Chew Yiwei, will leave for Barcelona today.
They spent one month in Guangzhou, sparring with province-level divers under the watchful eye of national coach Yang Zhuliang.
"The stint helped me iron out my weaknesses. It has raise my confidence, and hopefully, I can make an impact on the world meet.
"We also sparred with divers from the Guangzhou province team. The emphasis in training was to polish up our routines, not try new things as the coach felt it was too near to the event," said Pandelela.
Some critics felt she was lucky to win an Olympic medal in London in the low-scoring platform event but Pandelela is unconcerned, stating that she does not want to dwell on it.
"I only want to focus on my future. It will be a dream come true if I can win in Barcelona," said Pandelela, a bronze medallist with Mun Yee in the springboard synchro at the 2009 edition in Rome.
She also brushed off concerns about her injury, stating her strapped ankles in training on Saturday were for protective purposes.
Pandelela did not return to training until earlier this year after the Olympics because of a right ankle injury. "Both ankles were strapped for protection while my back is fine. I do not have injury problems."
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