8 Things To Know About 22-Year-Old Olympic Diver Nur Dhabitah Sabri

She emerged just shy of a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, but captured our hearts anyway.

Cover image via @dhabitah_sabri (Instagram) & Stadium Astro

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National diver Nur Dhabitah Sabri wept tears of joy coming in fourth place at the 3m springboard individual finals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games

The 22-year-old scored 326.15 points with five dives at the Olympic Aquatics Centre, coming behind China's defending champion Shi Tingmao, another Chinese diver named Wang Han, and American Krysta Palmer who took bronze.

Although just shy of a medal at her second Olympics, it's an impressive feat given it was her first time in the event — she finished fifth in the 3m springboard synchronised event with Cheong Jun Hoong and ninth in the 10m platform individual at the Rio 2016 Games.

"I'm crying not because I'm sad that I didn't win but it's because I'm proud of myself," she told Astro Arena in a post-match interview, smiling through tears.

Behind the bubbly smile, here are other facts you may not know about our national diver:

1. She was born in Kuala Lumpur

Dhabitah, fondly known as Bitah, was born on 12 July 1999 to Sabri Hashim and Fazidah Jaafar.

She's the youngest of four siblings — the older three being Nur Safura (33), Muhammad Safuan (31), and Muhammad Daniel (23). 

2. Dhabitah's father was first to notice her sporting potential

When her father realised she was naturally good at swimming at the age of seven, he enrolled her for classes at a swimming club in Cheras with a professional coach.

Soon, considering stiff competition in swimming and his daughter's petite physique, he decided that she would excel the most in diving.

According to Berita Harian, Dhabitah's parents added that their daughter never had a fear of heights, and particularly loved roller coasters from a young age.

3. At nine years old, she was already determined to succeed

"When I started learning diving, I never thought that I would take the sport seriously," Dhabitah told The Star in an interview.

"I made up my mind after taking part in the 2008 Sukan Malaysia (Sukma) Games in Terengganu. I did not aim for a medal when I participated but I managed to bag a bronze. That made me realise that I could succeed if I did my best."

A nine-year-old Dhabitah (left) at the 2008 Sukma Games in Terengganu.

Image via @dhabitah_sabri (Instagram)

4. She won her first international competition at the age of 13

Dominating the 3m diving events at local competitions — such as the Federal Territories Sports Council (MSSWP) and Malaysia Schools Sport Council (MSSM) swimming meets — she was offered a place at Bukit Jalil Sports School, where she started to train and compete professionally.

Her international debut was at the 2012 Southeast Asia (SEA) Swimming Championships in Singapore, bagging gold in both 3m and 1m springboard individual events, and becoming the youngest Malaysian diver to win at a senior international competition.

Image via Berita Harian

5. It goes without saying, she trains reallyyy hard

According to her Olympics athlete profile, her personal motto is: "Never give up."

At the peak before competitions, she trains eight hours a day, six days a week, and often shares photos and videos of herself training on social media.

"I want people to know that whatever we do is not easy, it comes with a price and a lot of hard training," she once told theSundaily.

She added that it is also difficult being away from family all the time as she trains for competitions.

6. She is also still a university student

Dhabitah catches up with studies despite having to prioritise sporting events.

She sat for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) in the same year she made her Olympic debut at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

This year, she again had to hold off her diploma in Occupational Safety and Health at the University of Cyberjaya in order to train for the Tokyo Olympics.

Image via Stadium Astro

7. In her free time, she enjoys watching TV and listening to music

Amid her busy schedule, she finds time to watch Korean dramas and game shows such as Running Man. Not to mention, she is also an avid fan of K-pop groups such as Big Bang, 2NE1, and Blackpink.

As an expert in backflips, she also occasionally dabbles in extreme sports such as parkour and trampolining for fun.

8. She is still aiming for an Olympic medal and she has the track record to show for it

According to the International Swimming Federation (FINA), the 22-year-old has consistently brought home gold medals in various international competitions from 2013 to 2019, save for the 2016 Olympics and in 2018.

She has taken home medals from the Commonwealth Games, Southeast Asian Games, FINA Diving World Series, FINA Diving Grand Prix, FINA World Cup, Asian Diving Cup, and the Asian Games.

As she also said in her Tokyo Olympics interview: "I know I'm still young, so I have a long journey ahead of me. This is just the beginning."

Well done Dhabitah, Malaysia is so proud of you! <3

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