While she may have just narrowingly missed out on securing a medal at the recently concluded Tokyo Summer Olympics, Malaysia’s Nur Dhabitah Sabri (fondly known as Bitah) has now emerged from the games as someone who has captured the hearts of Malaysians around the nation.
Dhabitah shed tears of joy during a post-dive interview, even as she was just a few points shy of securing another medal for the country in the 3m springboard individual finals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The 22-year old managed to score 326.15 points in five dives at the Olympic Aquatics Centre. This feat is particularly impressive considering Dhabitah’s relative inexperience in the event (this was her first time), and we’re sure that her performance will definitely improve the next time around. Elsewhere, the Malaysian diver also finished fifth in the 3m springboard synchronised event with Cheong Jun Hoong and ninth in the 10m platform individual at the Rio 2016 Games.
As for her most recent endeavour into the international diving arena, the young diver came up just short of American Krysta Palmer who took the bronze. Whereas, China’s defending champion Shi Tingmao and another Chinese diver, Wang Han rounded off the top scorers on the podium.
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Dhabitah was born on 12 July 1999 as the youngest of four siblings to parents Sabri Hashim and Fazidah Jaafar. At the tender young age of seven, Dhabitah was already a natural at swimming. And when her father realised her unhoned potential, he immediately enrolled her in classes at a swimming club in Cheras with a professional coach.
Thereafter, he realised that his daughter’s petite stature would not be able to compete with stiffer competition in swimming events. This is where he ultimately decided that she would excel the most in diving.
Dhabitah’s parents also mentioned that their youngest daughter never really had a fear of heights. In particular, she was a fan of roller coasters from a young age.
In the beginning, Dhabitah never intended to take the sport seriously, but this mindset changed as soon as she took part in the 2008 Sukan Malaysia (Sukma) Games in Terengganu, where she bagged a bronze medal. From then on, Dhabitah was on a mission to dominate the local competitions in the 3m diving events such as in the Federal Territories Sports Council (MSSWP) and Malaysia Schools Sport Council (MSSM) swimming meets. As a result, she was ultimately offered a place at the Bukit Jalil Sports School where her professional career and training truly began.
Dhabitah made her debut on the international stage at the 2012 Southeast Asia (SEA) Swimming Championships that was held in Singapore. It was here that she made history as the youngest Malaysian diver to win a medal at a senior international competition by bagging gold in both the 3m and 1m springboard individual events.
Her other accolades include gold medals from various international competitions like the Commonwealth Games, Southeast Asian Games, FINA Diving World Series, FINA Diving Grand Prix, FINA World Cup, Asian Diving Cup, and the Asian Games from 2013 to 2019. The only exception was for the 2016 and 2018 Olympics.
More impressively, Dhabitah doesn’t take her education for granted either and still manages to catch up with her studies despite having to prioritise sporting events as well as training. Currently, she has had to postpone her diploma in Occupational Safety and Health at the University of Cyberjaya in order to train for the Tokyo Olympics.