SEA Games: Kim’s a gem as diver delivers surprise gold

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Young diver Kimberly Bong Qian Ping is elated with the result, which enabled her to clinch her first gold medal at the biennial Games since her debut at the 2017 edition in Kuala Lumpur. — Bernama photo

PHNOM PENH (May 8): Not even the glare of the sunlight nor her low level of difficulty could stop young diver Kimberly Bong from bagging a surprise gold in the women’s 3-metre (m) springboard individual at the 2023 SEA Games at the Morodok Techo National Aquatic Centre, here, today.

The 20-year-old attributed those two factors to her failing to, at least, equal her personal record of 280 points after managing to accumulate 276.30 points from the five dives today.

However, the Sarawak-born diver is elated with the result, which enabled her to clinch her first gold medal at the biennial Games since her debut at the 2017 edition in Kuala Lumpur.

“I am happy but I still can’t believe it because my level of difficulty was quite low compared to other divers while the (condition) at the venue and the water surface was kind of glaring and that affected some of my dives,” she said when met by the local media here.

Elaborating, she admitted that there were still many aspects that needed to be improved on ahead of her participation in the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan from July 14-22.

She is also determined to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In today’s final, Indonesian diver Indonesia Gladies Lariesa Garina Haga (273.10 points) took silver while Malaysia’s Ong Ker Ying (248.70 points) settled for bronze.

Kimberly, who is making her third appearance in the biennial Games, had clinched a silver in the 1m springboard individual at the 2021 edition in Hanoi, Vietnam last year.

Her gold-medal feat here extended Malaysia’s domination in the women’s 3m springboard individual since Cheong Jun Hoong won gold in the 2011 edition in Palembang, Indonesia.

The diving competition continues tomorrow with the men’s 3m springboard individual event. — Bernama