SEA Games: Malaysians win first 2 diving gold

SEA Games: Malaysians win first 2 diving gold
Malaysia’s Cheong Jun Hoong (centre), with compatriot Ng Yan Yee (left) and Singapore’s Fong Kay Yian, is not very comfortable with the spotlight on her as a winner, in contrast to her total domination and control during competition.

Sporting a shy smile and even unsure of what to say after her women's 3m springboard final, Malaysian diver Cheong Jun Hoong was a complete contrast from her competition self.

Just moments earlier, she was imperious, scoring a comfortable 349.65 points to clinch the SEA Games gold at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday.

And in all her five attempts, she flashed only a deadpan look, one which revealed neither anxiety nor elation.

"I wasn't like this during my first few years in the sport... it needs to be built up slowly," said the 25-year-old. "I just try to be focused and concentrate, no distractions. And although I was nervous, I coped well."

Her compatriot Ng Yan Yee finished second (309.20) while Singapore's Fong Kay Yian clinched the bronze (258.90).

Malaysia then ensured they would clinch the second and final gold of the day when Ooi Tze Liang and Chew Yiwei scored 404.37 in the men's 10m synchronised platform.

Indonesians Andriyan and Adityo Restu Putra (355.11) and Thailand's Theerapat Siriboon and Yotsawat Juntaphadawon (316.77) rounded off the podium.

Composure was also abundant in Ooi and Chew, despite the huge expectations on the Malaysians to sweep all eight diving golds on offer once again, after they had achieved this feat at the 2013 Games in Myanmar. But Chew insisted: "For us, we do not think about sweeping the medals, we just want to outperform ourselves."

While appreciation for the diving powerhouses from the crowd came in the form of huge applause, the rapturous cheers were reserved for Fong.

The 18-year-old was fourth after all seven competitors had finished their third dive, behind third-placed Indonesian Eka Purnama Indah.

But a failed dive by the latter on her fourth try allowed Fong to leapfrog the Indonesian into the podium positions.

From there, the Singaporean never looked back.

In fact, she did not see the result coming.

"I have been facing problems with my third dive and have been working on it the past year," said Fong. "The bronze was really a surprise, I didn't expect to win a medal for myself."

Singapore's other diving representative Myra Lee finished fifth with a score of 211.00.

ocharles@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 07, 2015.
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