YEOH Ken Nee bade farewell to diving after finishing 10th in the 3m individual springboard competition at the Aquatic Centre at the Olympic Park on Tuesday.
He scored 437.46 in the final – his lowest score in all three rounds.
He scored 452.60 in the preliminaries and 441.62 to finish 12th in the semi-finals.
But Ken Nee can still walk tall, having surpassed all expectations by making the final – the first Malaysian diver to do so.
Russia’s Ilya Zhakarov scored a stunning upset when he took the gold medal ahead of China’s favourite Qin Kai. Another China diver, He Chong, was third.
Now that he is done with competing, Ken Nee wants turn to coaching.
“I would like to offer myself as a coach to the diving team and my plan is to help take the divers to a higher level,” he said.
“I have been actively diving since I was 12 years old. That is almost 17 years of hard work. But I have a passion to help others and coaching is the way to go for now.
“I have created a lot of firsts for Malaysia in diving and I am proud of it. Diving is a passion for me.”
Ken Nee is one of only two divers left from the pioneer group that was identified and trained for the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. The other is Leong Mun Yee.
The National Sports Council (NSC) started the Jaya ’98 diving project in 1994, when Malaysia got the Commonwealth Games host job.
Ken Nee bagged his first gold medal for Malaysia at the 1999 SEA Games in Brunei before going on to achieve a host of historic firsts.
He is the first medal winner for Malaysia at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games as well as one of the first Olympians from diving.
He made his Olympic debut in Sydney in 2000 and, after a 12-year lapse, qualified for his second Olympic in London at the age of 29.
He is also the first Malaysian to have ever won a medal at a world event, bagging a silver in the World Junior Championships in Calgary in 2000.
But there is no denying that making the final of the London Olympics has been the high point of his long and successful career.
“Yes, I would rank this as the best in my career. This is the biggest event for any athlete and to be able to make the final and dive with the best is the ultimate achievement,” he said.