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Friday September 20, 2013 MYT 7:30:00 AM
Friday September 20, 2013 MYT 9:49:05 AM
by lim teik huat
Driving instructor R. Shan giving diver Pandelela Rinong her first driving lesson.
KUALA LUMPUR: Diving off a height of 10m is child’s play for woman platform diver Pandelela Rinong but driving a car for the first time Thursday proved to be a nerve-wracking experience for her.
The London Olympic diver underwent her first practical driving lesson and admitted that “it was a whole new experience for me”.
Pandelela may not yet have a licence to drive but she already owns two cars – thanks to her historic feat of becoming not only the first woman Olympic medallist but also the youngest from Malaysia last year.
She was given a Chevrolet Colorado pick-up truck by the Sarawak government while Naza Motors later presented her with a Chevrolet Sonic in Kuala Lumpur.
“I’ve never driven a car before today. My father (Pamg Joheng) was using the Chevrolet Colorado back in Kuching while my brother uses the other car in KL.
“I intend to drive the car once I get my licence. I’m still getting used to handling a car.
“I think I’m more comfortable jumping from the platform ... as I’ve been doing it all this while,” said the giggly Sarawakian, who recently bagged the bronze medal in the World Championships in Barcelona with partner Leong Mun Yee in the platform synchro event.
But true to her gutsy character, Pandelela immediately took to driving.
Driving instructor R. Shan, who owns Sekolah Memandu Rakyat, said that after her first practical lesson he managed to coax Pandelela to drive for about 10km from Desa Waterpark to Universiti Malaya, where she is attending semester classes.
“She did it. She is brave ... I think it has something to do with her diving. She is also a fast learner and I think she was outstanding in her theory test where she scored 48 out of 50 marks and only took 13 minutes and 48 seconds to do so.
“Normally, one takes an average of 45 minutes to complete the test. She should be ready to sit for the driving test within a month,” said Shan, who has been in the business for 38 years.
In fact, it was Shan who approached The Star about wanting to teach Pandelela to drive after reading news report of her being rewarded with cars despite not having a driving licence.
“I wanted to personally teach her and make sure she passes her driving test,” said Shan, who has taught Datuk Kamaluddin Abdullah, the only son of former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
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diving, diver, Pandelela Rinong, car, drive, driving, Chevrolet, driving licence
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