Olympics: S'pore diver Freida Lim finishes 30th in 10m platform, does not make semis

The 23-year-old, who is the first diver from the Republic to compete at the Olympics, scored 215.90 over five dives.
The 23-year-old, who is the first diver from the Republic to compete at the Olympics, scored 215.90 over five dives.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Singapore's Freida Lim in the women's 10m platform preliminary round at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Aug 4, 2021.
Singapore's Freida Lim in the women's 10m platform preliminary round at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Aug 4, 2021.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

TOKYO - Freida Lim’s swansong did not pan out quite the way she had hoped, but the Singapore diver said she was still satisfied by her showing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo as she bade farewell to the 10m platform tower.

The 23-year-old made history on Wednesday (Aug 4) by becoming the first Singaporean diver to compete at the Olympics. However, she placed last out of the 30 in the women’s 10m platform preliminary round after scoring 215.90 over five dives at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

Only the top 18 advanced to the semi-finals, and China’s Chen Yuxi was the top qualifier with 390.70 points, followed by compatriot Quan Hongchan (364.45) and American Delaney Schnell (360.75).

Lim had already declared prior to arriving in Tokyo that the Olympics would be her last 10m platform competition, partly owing to injuries picked up in the event, and on Wednesday she said she might even call time on her nine-year diving career completely.

She executed her first two dives competently and placed 21st going into the third. But on her third dive, she earned her lowest score of 30.45 after an ungainly entry and never recovered, eventually slipping down the ranks to place last.

However, in the media mixed zone she said: “Honestly I’m happy.

“I was just thinking about finishing the five dives. Whether I did well or badly, the outcome for me was the same, and I really wanted to just enjoy these last five dives.”

She said that she normally struggles with the first two dives in her repertoire and does “pretty well” for the next two, but that was not the case here.

“We all have good days and bad days, and I guess it’s just unfortunate my bad diving day fell on the day of my competition,” she said.

Lim has described herself as having a “bochup” (Hokkien for nonchalant) personality but admitted she felt stressed and overwhelmed at the Olympics.

As she searched for answers to explain her dives, emotion washed over as she described how her coach Li Peng had apologised to her after her final dive.

The Chinese coach, who first coached Lim in 2018, felt he had over-trained Lim in Tokyo. Normally, he would give her a few days’ rest in the lead-up to a competition.

Between sobs, she said: “I (told him) it’s not his fault, but he still said sorry to me and he said, 'Your diving was OK, you just looked tired'.”

For now, Lim plans to soak up the rest of the diving competition – team-mate Jonathan Chan will compete in the men’s 10m platform on Friday – and attend the closing ceremony before returning to Singapore.

She plans to apply for jobs while serving her stay-home notice and decide if she wants to try and qualify to compete at the SEA Games next year, in either the 1m or 3m springboard.

She had graduated from the University of Georgia in May with a double degree in dietetics, and culinary science and nutrition.

“Of course I wish I could have dived better, but at the end of the day I don’t like to dwell,” she said. 

“I’m just happy I managed to dive, hopefully looking like I had confidence, and I hope that I made Singapore proud just being here at the Olympics and representing the flag.”