DIVING sensation Pandelela Rinong made Malaysia proud on Monday when she struck gold in the 10m platform diving of the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi with a total score of 371.05.
In the process, she scored 81.60 in her final attempt which was the highest score of the day.
The 17-year-old Bidayuh from Kampung Jugan in Bau also put to shame world-class divers from Australia in particular Beijing Olympics’ silver medallist Melissa Wu and Alexandra Croak, who finished with the silver and bronze respectively in Delhi.
She is proof that perseverance and dedication will see one go places and Ministry of Social Development and Urbanisation permanent secretary Ik Pahon Joyik was beaming with pride.
“It wasn’t easy for her and her gold proved that she’s no one-hit wonder.
“She worked hard to succeed in a time when so many of her peers dropped out due to the tremendous pressure,” said Ik Pahon, adding that her parents were also instrumental.
“Let’s pray that she will continue to shine for the nation ... hopefully she will one day win an Olympic gold - the nearest being London 2012.”
Ik Pahon, who is also the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) president, said the inspirational Pandelela would be made Bidayuh youth ambassador so she could share her trials and tribulations on her way to the top with her peers.
She will be invited to speak at youth forums to be held in the future.
Social Development and Urbanisation Minister Datuk Seri William Mawan Ikom was reported as saying his ministry would continue to support the diver as well as give incentives in recognition for her outstanding achievements, adding that deals with international brands would also be looked into.
Pandelela’s father Pamg Joheng and mother Hartini Lamin, meanwhile, are over the moon with their daughter’s latest success.
A delighted Pamg said Pandelela deserved her gold as she had been training very hard for several months.
“She was away from us all the time what with her tight training and competition schedules.”
Prior to clinching Malaysia’s first-ever Commonwealth Games gold in the women’s 10m platform diving, Pandelela was undergoing intensive training in Kunming, China.
She also competed in the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in August where she won two silver medals.