KUALA LUMPUR: National diving queen Datuk Pandelela Rinong is hoping to compete in the Olympics for a fifth consecutive time by making sure she earns her ticket to Paris 2024 through the World Aquatics Championships in Doha from Feb 2-18.
Not only will she be trying to compete in the women’s 10-metre (m) platform individual event for the fifth time at the Olympics, but the 30-year-old will also be gunning for a back-to-back appearance in the women’s 10m platform synchronised event with good friend Nur Dhabitah Sabri in Paris.
“Things are going okay now… I am just focusing on achieving my personal best and doing the best I can, just like in training for the competition (in Doha).
“I am also looking forward to competing with her (Nur Dhabitah) in the World Aquatics Championships and giving it our absolute best,” Pandelela, who is in Doha, said when contacted by Bernama.
Pandelela has competed in four editions of the Olympic Games, namely Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio de Janeiro 2016 and Tokyo 2020.
In London 2012, the Sarawakian created history by becoming the first national woman athlete to deliver a medal at the Olympics – winning bronze in the women’s 10m platform individual.
Four years later, in Rio de Janeiro, she clinched a silver with Cheong Jun Hoong in the women’s 10m platform synchronised event.
If Pandelela manages to qualify for Paris 2024, she will equal former diver Datuk Leong Mun Yee’s record of five Olympic outings.
In Doha, the top 12 divers in the individual events and the top four pairs in the synchronised events will earn tickets to Paris 2024.
With many having already qualified through last year’s World Aquatics Championships, the available slots will then go to the best-ranked divers and pairs in Doha.
For the record, youngster Bertrand Rhodict Lises is the only diver to have qualified on merit for the 2024 July 26-Aug 11 Olympic Games, so far.
The 18-year-old Sarawakian will make his Olympic debut after advancing to the men’s 10-metre (m) platform final and being among the top 12 divers at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.
Other national divers who will be competing in Doha include Wendy Ng Yan Yee, Ooi Tze Liang, Muhammad Syafiq Puteh, Enrique Maccartney Harold and Jellson Jabillin.
Asked about the recent two-month training camp in China, Pandelela said it went well for her, especially in terms of building up her mental and physical strength ahead of the World Aquatics Championships.–Bernama