Cheong bags Malaysia's first ever diving gold at Worlds
Cheong Jun Hoong won Malaysia's first-ever diving gold medal at the aquatics world championships in Budapest yesterday morning (Singapore time) in the women's 10 metre platform event.
Chinese divers have long dominated this event at the world championships, winning 22 medals, 16 more than any other country.
It is why Cheong surprised even herself with the win.
"My god, I'm a world champion! Of course it is a dream come true," the 27-year-old Perakian, who came first with 397.50 points, told The Star.
"It is the first gold medal at the world championships in diving for Malaysia. It's unexpected and unbelievable.
"I had hoped for a medal, but I didn't think I could beat the Chinese divers. I have focused only for myself and I watched the scoreboard after the last dive of Si Yajie, so I realised my win only at that moment."
China's Si, last year's Rio Olympics silver medallist, finished second with 396.00 points.
Si's compatriot and reigning Olympic champion Ren Qian, who won silver in the event in 2015, took bronze (391.95).
Kim Kuk Hyang of North Korea, who won gold in 2015, came fourth with 388.55.
Si said: "Cheong's win is a little surprise for me, but I congratulate her."
Malaysia's top politicians also paid tributes to Cheong.
Prime Minister Najib Razak tweeted: "Congratulations @cheongjunhoong! First world champion #Negaraku in the women's platform event at #FINABudapest2017."
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the win is a source of national pride.
"Congratulations @cheongjunhoong world champion in women's 10m platform individual. History is created and is a national pride. Thank you national athletes," he tweeted. - WIRE SERVICES