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Saturday October 26, 2013 MYT 7:36:00 PM
Saturday October 26, 2013 MYT 11:47:19 PM
by lim teik huat
Diver Pandelela Rinong showing off her new driving licence. Now that she has received her driver's licence, Pandelela can concentrate on defending her individual platform gold medal at the Myanmar SEA Games in December.
KUALA LUMPUR: With one big headache out of the way, national diver Pandelela Rinong has every reason to end the year with a flourish at the Myanmar SEA Games in December.
The 20-year-old obtained her driving licence on Saturday and is relieved at getting over her initial fear of driving on busy roads.
“I was very nervous driving a car ... I’ve never driven one until I went for my first driving lesson last month.
“Now, I do not have to worry about getting to and from the university and the training centre. I don’t have to depend on others to commute,” said Pandelela, who is studying for a Sports Science degree in Universiti Malaysia.
Pandelela will be using a Chevrolet Sonic car, which was presented to her by Naza Motors after she bagged the Olympic bronze medal in platform diving in London last year – making her the first woman Olympic medallist for Malaysia.
The SEA Games will be her final outing for the year and Pandelela is hoping to bow out on a high note.
“I’m only diving in the individual platform this time as the coach wants to expose the juniors as well.
“Either juniors Nur Dhabitah Sabri or Loh Zhiayi will partner Leong Mun Yee in the platform synchro.
“I’m the defending champion and I want to keep the title with a good performance before I return to celebrate Christmas,” said the Sarawak-born Pandelela, who is from the Bidayuh community.
Pandelela took a silver in the individual platform in her SEA Games debut in Korat in 2007 but became a double gold medallist in Laos two years later.
Pandelela partnered Mun Yee to gold in synchro, apart from winning the individual gold in Laos and she went on to retain her SEA Games title in Palembang two years ago.
Meanwhile, the newly-built Wunna Theikdi aquatics centre has received the thumbs-up from Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) secretary Edwin Chong, who made a trip to Naypidaw earlier this week.
Edwin is the technical committee representative for world governing body FINA and was there to advise on the preparations.
“The venue looks very impressive for anyone who has been to other SEA Games before. I believe they are ready to host the aquatic events,” he said.
“Their divers and swimmers have been training there for a month already. The national federation also held a pre-SEA Games competition to check the equipment and readiness.
“We requested them to hold the swimming and diving events separately as they’ve not hosted any event of this scale before. It will be less taxing and they accepted our proposal.”
Myanmar will host the SEA Games for only the third time after 1961 and 1969.
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