Wednesday, 15 January 2014 | MYT 7:24 PM
Pandalela prepares for a long and arduous season
A file picture of Pandelela Rinong. The diver is expected to play a major role in maintaining the country’s status as the second best team in the continent behind powerhouse China at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian diving sensation Pandelela Rinong is prepared to raise the bar as she braces for a busy season ahead.
She is setting her sights on podium finish in every event she competes in.
It will be a demanding schedule for her as she is slated for a training stint in China by the end of the month.
March will see the start of the Diving World Series, which has expanded from four to six legs this year.
Pandelela finished overall runner-up last year.
July will see her vying for honours in the World Cup in Shanghai and also focusing on the defence of her Commonwealth Games gold medal in the individual platform in Glasgow.
Then, it’s the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, where she is expected to play a major role in maintaining the country’s status as the second best team in the continent behind powerhouse China.
The two-time National Sportswoman of the Year is eager to remind her rivals that she is still a force to be reckoned with in individual platform.
“I did not do that well in individual platform in the Diving World Series last year. I only got a bronze in the opening leg in Beijing and that was all ... until I won the SEA Games gold in Myanmar last month,” said the 20-year-old, who made a costly blunder at the World Championships in Barcelona last July and saw her dream of winning her first individual medal dashed when she slipped from second to finish sixth.
Although Pandelela managed to secure a bronze with Leong Mun Yee in the platform synchro in Barcelona, she is determined to achieve even better things this year.
“I hope to be on the podium in every event I’m taking part in this year ... that’s what I intend to achieve,” said Pandelela, who will be comforted by recent news that her Australian rivals are no longer in the best of condition.
Brittany Broben, who is the reigning Olympic silver medallist for women’s platform, is said to have been dropped from the Australian team after failing to rise to the occasion last year.
Broben did not even reach the semi-finals at the World Championships in Barcelona.
Another Australian diver, Melissa Wu, returned to the Australian national team recently but she is resigned to compete with a back injury for the rest of her career.
Melissa, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist, was beaten to second place by Pandelela at the last Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
The 21-year-old Melissa suffers from a bulging disc in her lower back and it is not certain how serious a threat she will be to the Malaysian.
Although Pandelela stands a good chance of retaining the Commonwealth Games gold medal she won in New Delhi, she is determined not to get carried away.
“Coach (Yang Zhuliang) told me that Brittany has lost her competitive edge since her Olympic success and is no longer around. But I still have many rivals to deal with if I want to win the Commonwealth Games for a second consecutive time.
“Meaghan (Benfeito) and Roseline (Filion of Canada), Tonia (Couch) and Sarah (Barrow of England) are all still around,” said Pandelela, who also settled for silver with Mun Yee in the synchro event in New Delhi four years ago.